fbpx
 

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center called in the United States Senate to pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

The bill passed the House of Representatives in March 2021.

“Every day a bipartisan VAWA bill is not passed is another day that our women and children remain vulnerable in their own homes. The time to act is now. We cannot afford to wait,” the two national American Indians tells the Senate.

Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.

Here is the text of the full joint statement:

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center (NIWRC) are encouraged by the bipartisan calls to modernize, reauthorize, and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) made during the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s hearing yesterday.

A key component of VAWA reauthorization must be reaffirming Tribal Nations’ jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes of sexual violence, child abuse, elder abuse, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults against law enforcement officers in Indian Country. Since VAWA’s reauthorization in 2013, Tribal Nations have successfully prosecuted non-Indian perpetrators in Indian Country, making their communities safer for American Indian and Alaska Native women, as well as the non-Indians who live among and with them.

However, Tribal Nations have identified jurisdictional gaps, which continue to leave many Native victims of violence vulnerable and without access to justice. To truly modernize and strengthen VAWA, we must build on the success of the 2013 VAWA tribal provisions by closing these gaps and increasing resources available to Tribal Nations to protect their communities.

We thank members of the Committee who shared their experiences listening to domestic violence survivors and victim service providers and called for VAWA legislation that would protect all victims including those that are citizens of Tribal Nations. Senators, from both sides of the aisle, called for child predators to be brought to justice and spoke at length about how child abuse victims must receive much needed support. We agree, as true justice will not be achieved until tribal criminal jurisdiction over anyone who abuses an Indian child on tribal lands is fully restored.

VAWA reauthorization must also include additional resources and reimbursements for Tribal Nations. As U.S. Deputy Attorney General Monaco shared, “demand is outpacing supply” when we look at domestic violence resources and services. Today, the high demand for resources, services, and justice can be found all across Indian Country.

In March 2021, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1620, a bipartisan VAWA reauthorization bill with strong tribal provisions that builds on the restoration of tribal criminal jurisdiction, which began in VAWA 2013. The Senate must do the same and act quickly to support victims and survivors across the country.

NCAI and NIWRC call on the Senate to ensure that VAWA is modernized, reauthorized, and strengthened by reaffirming tribal jurisdiction and increasing resources for Indian Country, in 2021. Every day a bipartisan VAWA bill is not passed is another day that our women and children remain vulnerable in their own homes. The time to act is now. We cannot afford to wait.

More Stories Like This

US Park Police Intrude on Association of American Indian Physicians’ Induction Ceremony
Famous Dave’s Restaurants Sell for $200 Million
‘Largest Investment Ever’ on Climate Change Passes Senate, Including $272.5 Million for Tribes
Indian Gaming Revenue Jumps to Record $39 Billion
Interior Sec. Haaland Announces Members of Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]