LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It took the combined work of multiple law enforcement agencies to arrest Nathan Chasing Horse, the alleged cult leader charged with child sex abuse.
The joint effort shows how justice can be brought when investigators come together with a unified purpose. But these connections are not wide spread around the country — something Indigenous communities have worked to bring attention to in recent years through organizations like Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA.
Tsuut'ina Nation Police, based in Alberta, Canada, worked with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on the investigation that led to Chasing Horse's arrest earlier this week.
"We started working with them the past two weeks, and they already had a several-month investigation going," Sgt. Nancy Farmer told KTNV.
Please see attached media release. pic.twitter.com/igYOdFgasj— Tsuut'ina Police (@Tsuutinapolice) February 1, 2023
Chasing Horse faces several felony charges, including child sex abuse and sex trafficking of Indigenous women. In an arrest report, police noted Chasing Horse was banished by the Fort Peck Tribe in Montana for spiritual abuse and intimidation of tribal members.
Farmer says one of Chasing Horse's victims came forward to tribal police, creating the Las Vegas-Alberta connection.
"At the end of the day, they went to someone they thought was a Medicine Man," Farmer said. "Well, a Medicine Man is supposed to heal people, not harm people. And when our victims just want to be more connected spiritually within their community and they get brutalized, that's a cyclical circle, and we're trying to end that tragedy."
➡️Sexual assault of a child less than 16 years old— LVMPD (@LVMPD) February 1, 2023
➡️Sexual assault (2 counts)
➡️Sex trafficking of an adult (2 counts)
This is an ongoing investigation.
Event Number: LLV221200062648
The gruesome murder of a 22-year-old pregnant Indigenous women out of Fargo, North Dakota in 2017 ignited a national conversation about how local, federal and tribal entities work together.
In 2020, Savanna's Act was signed into federal law, calling for improved communication between federal and local law enforcement and tribal entities.
That's something Aaron Rouse, former special agent in charge of the Las Vegas FBI field office, credits with improved law enforcement relations in our community.
"We had extraordinarily good relationships with tribal police, the Bureau of Indian Affairs," Rouse said, "and while we didn't have a lot of resources, the commitment to solve these crimes together was there."
In Nevada, Rouse says the solid exchange cultivated by these agencies largely goes unnoticed by the public, but the effects do not.
"The FBI in Nevada made a conservative effort to reach out to all local law enforcement agencies and tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs to make sure we were working and that we were all on the same page," Rouse said. "To bring all those resources together — individual departments may have resource issues — but together we can be a very mighty force."