Sarah Deer on Decolonizing Rape Law

Sarah Deer has published her excellent paper “Decolonizing Rape Law: A Native Feminist Synthesis of Safety and Sovereignty” in the Wicaso Sa Review. (Deer Decolonizing Rape Law)

Here is an excerpt:

The question I raise is–should the tribal government itself respond to such crimes? If yes, how–and what might a Native feminist analysis have to offer in addressing this crisis?

Many people will argue that such crimes are too serious to be handled by contemporary tribal justice systems. (3) Given the numerous legal and financial limitations faced by tribal court systems, they might say, tribal governments must simply rely on the federal (or state) system to prosecute and sentence such rapists. However, this over-reliance on foreign governmental systems has often been to the detriment of Native women. Today, Native women suffer the highest per capita rates of sexual violence in the United States. (4) Conservative estimates suggest that more than one of three Native women in America will be raped during their lifetime. (5) Rape was once extremely rare in tribal communities. (6) Arguably, the imposition of colonial systems of power and control has resulted in Native women being the most victimized group of people in the United States.7 Moreover, statistics indicate that most perpetrators of rape against Native women are white. (8) As a result of a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court decision, tribal governments have been denied their authority to criminally prosecute non-Indian perpetrators.

One thought on “Sarah Deer on Decolonizing Rape Law

  1. Julian Real April 25, 2010 / 1:19 pm

    May I cross post this to my blog, A Radical Profeminist?

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