Opinion: Republicans add insult to injury on VAWA reauthorization

"Rape in Indian country has recently become the subject of partisan campaign fodder and, even worse, systemic racism in Washington, D.C. It is time to set the record straight on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization.

In 1978 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe that tribal governments do not have the power to prosecute non-Indians. Neither the federal government nor the states have filled this jurisdictional void. For decades, the Oliphant decision, which arose on Washington State’s Kitsap Peninsula, has allowed non-Indian criminals to enter Indian reservations and literally get away with murder—or, more commonly, rape.

Last April the Senate passed S. 1925, a version of VAWA that would again allow tribes to exercise limited criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian domestic violence defendants. This was the right move, as further confirmed in May when a U.S. Government Accountability Office study confirmed that “tribal justice systems are often the most appropriate institutions for maintaining law and order in Indian country.”"

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Ryan Dreveskracht: House Republicans Add Insult to Indian Injury (Indian Country Today 7/7)

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