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Column: VAWA is a significant step to protect Native women

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: jurisdiction, tribal courts, vawa, women

College newspaper columnist praises protections for American Indian and Alaska Native women in S.47, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act:
On March 7, President Barack Obama signed an updated version of the Violence Against Women Act that will implement state and local efforts to fight rape and domestic violence, with specific provisions protecting the Native American community. Obama hopes to transform the way survivors deal with abuse. The act includes a long-overdue landmark addition that will permit Native American tribal authorities to prosecute non-Native Americans for abuses committed on tribal lands.

According to The Huffington Post, “The reauthorized act seeks to address part of the crisis by extending tribal jurisdiction over non-Native Americans who commit crimes of domestic violence or sexual assault against a Native American spouse or partner. Tribal governments in the U.S. currently do not have jurisdiction over non-Native Americans who commit crimes on their land.”

This addition is a significant step for Native American rights. While Obama’s efforts to improve relations between the federal government and Native American tribes represent progress, there is plenty more to be done. Suzanne Gamboa of the Associated Press agrees, writing, “With the accomplishments come greater expectations from a people whose rates of unemployment, violent crime, youth suicides, poverty and high school dropouts are significantly higher than in the rest of the country.”

Get the Story:
Rozina Portelli: Native American assault victims in need of recourse (The

Related Stories:
Sen. Harry Reid: Indian women heard with enactment of VAWA (3/14)
Native Sun News: South Dakota Republicans vote against VAWA (03/11)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee, explains no vote on VAWA (03/11)
Tribes in Oklahoma prepare for jurisdiction provision in VAWA (03/11)

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