A new website is now available with the express purpose of providing sex trafficking information and resources for tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions. The link to the site is here.
From the site:
This website was created to provide tribal coalitions with quick access to information their advocates need–legal resources, victim service directories, training calendars, technical assistance, and more.
Additionally, we envision this site as a place for Native women to find help when dealing with violence. Individuals can reach out to their local Tribal Coalition(s) for assistance or they can easily use our Victim Services Directory themselves. We suggest, however, that individuals contact their local tribal coalition for assistance first. A Tribal Coalition can help individuals navigate options and services, and utilizing coalition connections can increase a client’s chances of receiving services or referrals immediately.
The site includes federal, state, and tribal laws, articles, resources, and information about victim services and will continue to include new information as it becomes available.
From NPR (miigwetch to A.K.):
The federal government has recently announced plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to improve medical clinics, buy more rape kits and bolster the police response to what authorities say is an epidemic of rapes on Indian land.
The February stimulus bill injected $500 million into Indian Health Services, the agency that handles most medical needs for Native Americans, while the appropriations bill that passed in March is also adding funds. The March bill increases the budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs by $85 million to provide additional law enforcement on reservations.
Meanwhile, Congress is attempting to strengthen the authority of tribal police with a new bill that would grant Native American tribes greater police powers.
Advocates say it would be a sea change for tribes, which are largely dependent on the federal government when it comes to law enforcement on their lands.
Here is the coverage from Indianz, and here is the very remarkable opinion from the Court of Federal Claims — lavetta-elk-dct-opinion
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., introduced major bipartisan legislation April 2 aimed at strengthening law enforcement and justice in Indian communities. Some Indian justice advocates said it could be strengthened, but generally agree it is a step in the right direction.
Congressional officials said the legislation is needed in response to violent crime that has reached extreme levels on some reservations due to chronic underfunding of law enforcement and justice programs, and a broken, divided system for policing Indian lands.
“The increase in violence on some reservations is epidemic,” said Dorgan, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, upon introducing the bill to Congress.
“Violence against women is growing and now one in three women on Indian reservations will be a victim of rape or sexual assault during their lifetime. That is intolerable and we have to stop it.
“We cannot ignore the fact that drug traffickers are now targeting Indian reservations as safe havens because of the lack of police presence and the disjointed system of justice that is in place.”
Thirteen senators from both parties joined Dorgan in offering the legislation, which is called the Tribal Law and Order Act. Similar legislation was introduced last summer, but did not pass Congress.
April 12, 2009
Legislators honor Native American women
By TRAVIS COLEMAN Tribune Staff Writer
Amnesty International statistics say Native American women are nearly three times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than any other group of women in the nation. Montana legislators kept those statistics in mind last week when supporting a joint resolution honoring Montana’s Native American women by trying to stop the violence against them. The joint resolution from the state Senate and the House of Representatives passed by large margins in both chambers. The resolution asks that legislators call upon federal, state and tribal officials to take action to stop domestic and sexual violence against the more than 27,000 Native American women in Montana. According to the resolution, that will be achieved through: · Working together to understand the nature and prevalence of violence against Native American women. · Supporting access to services for Native American women. · Providing adequate resources for additional criminal justice and victim prevention and intervention services. · Ensuring that the federal government investigates and prosecutes violent crime on Indian reservations. The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Carol Juneau, D-Browning, was filed with the Secretary of State on Monday. Juneau came up with the resolution after reading Amnesty International’s “Maze of Injustice” report that detailed how sexual violence against women from tribal nations is at epidemic proportions and that survivors are frequently denied justice. “I thought it would be good to have the state of Montana become more aware of the issue,” Juneau said, adding that the resolution could encourage others to take notice of the problem. Juneau said some Native American women are “falling between the cracks and their issues are being left behind” because they don’t know where to go to get justice among federal, state, tribal and county authorities. Juneau hopes that this resolution will spur action to address these jurisdictional concerns. “I’m hoping the resolution can be used as a vehicle to create some awareness and some communication between the various jurisdictions,” she said.
Here is the complaint in this amazing and terrible case (via Women’s Space and Feminist Law Blog).
Fourteen months ago, several similarly situated Alaskan Natives settled a similar suit for $50 million (here).