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DOJ supports bill to include Alaska tribes in VAWA jurisdiction





The Department of Justice supports legislation to include Alaska tribes in S.47, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a senior official said on Wednesday.

VAWA allows tribes to exercise jurisdiction over non-Indian domestic violence offenders. But Section 910, Special Rule for the State of Alaska excludes Alaska tribes.

"Repeal of Section 910 is an important step that can help protect Alaska Native victims of that violence and, significantly, the children who often witness it, and it can send a message that tribal authority and tribal sovereignty matters; that the civil protection orders tribal courts issue ought to be respected and enforced," associate attorney general Tony West said yesterday during the final public meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Attorney General's Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence.

S.1474, the Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act, repeals Section 910. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved the bill at a business meeting on May 21.

Get the Story:
Tribal, national leaders gather to address violence against Alaska Native women and children (KTVA 6/12)
By empowering tribes, federal task force aims to cut Native children's exposure to violence (The Anchorage Daily News 6/11)
Violence against Native women gets national attention (KTVA 6/10)
Bill Encourages Tribes to Work With State on Jurisdiction (Alaska Public Media 5/27)

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Senate Indian Affairs Committee business meeting and hearing (05/19)
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Audio from Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on five bills (04/02)