Lisa Marie Ayotte, a citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, appears with then-president Barack Obama at the signing of the Tribal Law and Order Act on July 29, 2010. Photo: National Congress of American Indians

Mary Annette Pember: Falling short on protecting Native women

It's been nearly eight years since the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act but the federal government is still falling short in carrying out its mandates. Independent journalist Mary Annette Pember explains how Native women, who face the highest rates of violence in the country, are impacted:
“The Tribal Law and Order Act [TLOA] feels like window dressing,” said Sarah Deer of the Muscogee Creek Nation, who worked on the legislation President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010 and was also instrumental in the reauthorization of the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). “It’s very disappointing, many of us worked so hard on the legislation.”

The language of TLOA, with its specific promises to combat sexual and domestic violence against Native women, held great hope for Indian Country, a community in which one out of every three Native women reports being raped in her lifetime. Overall, Native people are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to other races.

In the government’s first evaluation of TLOA, however, the main government agency responsible for carrying out the mandates of the act has fallen far short of its goals.

Deer, who has worked for more than 25 years to end violence against women in Indian Country, agrees.

“One might have thought that one of the main duties of the OTJ would be ensuring that the mandates of TLOA are met,” Deer noted. Author of The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America, and winner of a 2014 MacArthur “genius” award for her work, Deer is a professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Kansas.

Read More on the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: ‘It’s Time for Indian Women to Be Heard’: The Promise and Problems of the Tribal Law and Order Act (Rewire March 12, 2018)

Office of the Inspector General Review of the Department’s Tribal Law Enforcement Efforts Pursuant to the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, Evaluation and Inspections Division Report 18-01:
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