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Senate Democrats call for inclusion of tribal provisions in VAWA

Deborah Parker, the vice chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, joined Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill on Tuesday in calling on Congress to protect American Indian and Alaska Native women from domestic violence.

Parker said tribes should be able to prosecute non-Indians who commit domestic violence offenses on reservations. She shared her story as a victim of sexual abuse and as a witness to acts of sexual assault on the reservation.

“If lawmakers think that abusers are not watching this current debate; they are wrong," Parker said, Talk Radio News Service reported, referring to the lack of tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians.

In April, the Senate passed S.1925, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The following month, the House approved H.R.4970 but it lacks the tribal jurisdiction provisions.

The House and the Senate have yet to name a conference committee to iron out the differences. Senate Democrats said they would not accept a version that does not help American Indian and Alaska Native women.

“Three out of five Native women in our country will be assaulted by their spouses or partner in their lifetimes,” Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee said at the press conference yesterday, Talk Radio News Service reported. “The highest rate of any group of women in the country. A woman’s safety should not depend on where she lives or the identity of her attacker. Present federal law has created a jurisdictional maze in Indian Country, effectively giving non-Indian offenders a free pass for crimes committed against women on a reservation.”

Get the Story:
Lummis rally to support tougher domestic violence law (The Tacoma News-Tribune 6/27)
Larsen, Parker meet to discuss Violence Against Women Act (The Marysville Globe 6/26)
VAWA Must Extend To Native Americans, Say Senate Dems (Talk Radio News Service 6/26)
Sen. Akaka: Missing Provisions In VAWA Would Give Abusers A Free Pass (Talk Radio News Service 6/26)
Sen. Murray: VAWA Must Include LGBT, Immigrants And Native Americans (Talk Radio News Service 6/26)
Sen. Murray balks at compromise with House on Violence Against Women Act (The Hill 6/26)
Senate should hold firm on VAWA provisions, Murray says (The Washington Post 6/26)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Women at risk (The Christian Century 6/25)

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Rep. Betty McCollum co-sponsors SAVE Native Women Act (3/8)
Sen. Hatch opposes bill provisions to protect Native women (3/7)

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