Since it is the mission of Turtle Talk to make primary documents available to the Indian law community, here are many of the primary documents we have made available in this long-running political fight to enact what was once known as the SAVE Native Women Act in the Violence against Women Act Reauthorization:
Senator Coburn has filed an amendment to strip the tribal provisions from VAWA. Here
Letter from NCAI Task Force co-chairs expressing opposition to amendments like the Coburn Amendment Here
Excerpt from the letter:
The NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women is extremely concerned that misunderstandings of the political status of Indian tribes and the internal workings of the tribal court system are causing confusion on how this provision will work on the ground. Indian tribes are not a racial class, they are a political body – so the question is not whether non-Indians are subject to Indian court – the question is whether tribal governments, political entities, have the necessary jurisdiction to provide their citizens with the
public safety protections every government has the inherent duty to provide.
Amendments which place more funding in the hands of federal authorities will not address this immediate 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.
The Indian Law Resource Center has launched a petition asking Congress to stand with Indian nations to stop the epidemic of violence against Native women. Join the petition and urge Congress to pass a better, stronger VAWA now that will protect Native women and ALL women!
Early this week, two U.S. House Representatives members and the Tacoma News Tribune took clear stands against protecting women from sexual assault. Representatives Todd Akin, R-Missouri, and Steve King, R-Iowa, did so by promoting the concept of “legitimate rape.” The News Tribune did so by attacking the only real hope for combating the national pandemic of violence against Native women.
As originally passed by the U.S. Senate, the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization legislation would allow tribes to exercise limited criminal jurisdiction over certain non-Indians who violate Native American women on Indian reservations. Tribes would be required to provide all rights accorded to defendants in state and federal court, and federal courts would have authority to review tribal court decisions that result in incarceration. The legislation would not raise the one-year maximum sentence that tribal courts can impose. The GOP-controlled House, however, omitted the protections for Indian women in its version of the bill.
Among those voting to omit the tribal protections were vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, U.S. Senate candidate Akin, and House Republican King. In an interview originally broadcast on Sunday, Akin suggested that an abortion would be unnecessary in the instance of a “legitimate rape” because apparently only non-legitimate rape leads to pregnancy — whatever that means. Chiming in agreement, fellow House Rep. King said that he’s never heard of a girl getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest. While Akin and King quickly recanted, they cannot as simply withdraw their votes against the Senate’s proposed protections for abused Native women.