NCAI Reiterates Support for Senate Version of Violence Against Women Act;
Letter to Leahy and Crapo Calls for No Harmful Amendments to S.47
NCAI Policy Research Center Releases Brief on Violence Against Women Statistics
Washington, DC – In a letter sent to Senators Leahy and Crapo this morning, the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) Taskforce on Violence Against Women expressed strong opposition to any harmful amendments offered to the Senate legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In the letter to the Senate co-authors of the legislation, NCAI expressed unified opposition to amendments to VAWA that would strip tribal jurisdiction provisions or alter the current language in S. 47 in a harmful manner.
The letter sent by NCAI Task Force co-chairs Juana Majel Dixon (Pauma Band of Mission Indians, CA) and Terri Henry (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, NC) can be downloaded here, and highlights examples of amendments which the organization opposes:
“Amendments which place more funding in the hands of federal authorities will not address…local need. We believe strongly that local government is the best government for addressing public safety concerns. For example, an amendment is being offered today which would require that tribal governments petition a U.S. District Court for an ‘appropriately tailored protection order excluding any persons from areas within the Indian country of the tribe.’ This level of procedure for an intimately local issue is not practical and will do little to improve matters on Indian reservations. Tribal courts are the appropriate venue to issue such protection orders.
Also, tribal courts and authorities are the appropriate triers of fact for domestic violence matters conducted on Indian reservations. The federal system has proven ineffective in many respects, but none as detrimental to the backbone of a community as the area of domestic violence against Native women. Further many tribal courts operate in much the same manner as state courts, albeit with smaller dockets and lesser degrees of crime as their sister governments: state and federal courts. Also, all tribal courts are bound by the Indian Civil Rights Act, which, as amended, guarantees all of the constitutional rights non-Native defendants have in state courts.”
Additionally, NCAI’s Policy Research Center released today a new Policy Insight Brief titled, Statistics on Violence Against Native Women. The brief aims to provide detail on previously reported statistics and original sources of data used often in policy discussions, specifically focusing on the context in which the disproportional violence against Native women happens. The brief synthesizes data and provides context for critical tribal provisions of S. 47:
“From what we know about the high rates of intimate partner violence against Native women, about the fact that assaults against Native women tend to take place at private residences, about the reports from Native women of perceived perpetrator race, and about the high rates of interracial marriage and unmarried partners of Native women, it is clear that violence against Native women tends to be perpetrated by non-Native men.”