Month: May, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Read entire article at: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/05/16/native-girls-are-being-exploited-and-destroyed-at-an-alarming-rate-113249
For more information about this issue visit: http://www.catwinternational.org/
Wednesday, May 16, 2012For Immediate Release Contact: Thom Wallace, (202) 630 – 1094
May 16, 2012
House Passes VAWA with Weakened Tribal Provisions;
NCAI Voices Serious Concerns Regarding HR 4970
NCAI Calls for House and Senate to Restore Bi-Partisan Tribal Provisions of S.1925
Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted and passed a version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization - HR 4970 - without any of the key tribal jurisdictional provisions intact. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has serious concerns about the alternative provisions contained in the House bill and is calling on the House and Senate to restore the bipartisan and constitutionally sound tribal provisions in the Senate version of the bill, S.1925, that create local solutions to the epidemic of domestic violence experienced by Native women.
“Native women aren’t safer as a result of the passage of HR 4970. In fact, the tribal provisions included in this bill create additional hurdles for Indian women seeking protection from violence on tribal lands, and that is unacceptable,” said Juana Majel-Dixon, 1st Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and co-chair of the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women. “Indian Country supports the bipartisan Senate VAWA bill, which contains constitutionally sound tribal provisions that provide local solutions that will deliver long-overdue justice to Native women and safety to tribal communities.”
Passed by a vote of 222-205, the tribal provisions included in HR 4970 would be a step backward in contrast to the bipartisan Senate VAWA bill, supported by NCAI and tribes across the country. Over the past few days, H.R. 4970 has been amended to include provisions that have the potential to cause great confusion surrounding tribes' authority to issue civil protection orders and that could further endanger Native victims.
HR 4970 would “federalize” the issuance and enforcement of protection orders for Native victims, authorizing Indian victims of domestic violence or Indian tribes on behalf of Indian victims to seek protection orders from U.S. district courts against suspects of abuse. This approach fails to address the crux of the problem - a lack of local authority to handle misdemeanor level domestic and dating violence when the perpetrator is non-Indian. The legislation passed by the House is drafted in a way that undermines the safety and autonomy of victims.
On the other hand, S.1925 contains key tribal provisions that would empower the governmental authorities closest to the alleged criminal activity—tribal police and courts—to intervene early in acts of domestic violence committed by non-Indians within the tribe's territory, before the violence escalates to the point of serious assault or homicide. These provisions are limited in scope, do not infringe on existing federal or state court jurisdiction, and defendants who stand trial before a tribal court would have the full panoply of constitutional rights.
About The National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit www.ncai.org .
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Categories: Current News
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
May 8, 2012
National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women Statement on the House Judiciary Committee’s Passage of the Adams Bill
Today, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and passed the Adams (R-FL) version of VAWA, H.R. 4970. The National Task Force and our thousands of community activists all across the nation have worked very hard in the last few weeks to defeat this harmful bill that sets back the clock on VAWA, hurts and excludes survivors of violence and in some cases gives more rights to perpetrators than victims. In a near party-line 17-15 vote, one Member, Representative Ted Poe (R-TX), crossed the aisle and stood firmly with the field and on the side of victims. As Co-Chair of the Victims' Rights Caucus, he joined VAWA’s Democratic champions and voted against the bill. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, a coalition representing thousands of organizations, service providers, researchers, educators, religious leaders, law enforcement, advocacy groups and victims all across the nation, continues to have grave concerns about this legislation that contains punitive provisions that will harm victims and exclude key communities.
In today’s committee markup, a substitute amendment offered by Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) that closely mirrors the bipartisan Senate-passed bill was not even allowed to be considered or debated. Numerous amendments were offered by our House champions to improve the Adams bill by including vulnerable communities such as Native women, LGBTQ victims, and immigrant victims, and striking mandatory minimum sentencing, but these amendments were consistently defeated by the House committee majority. Despite these disappointing results, the National Task Force will now turn our efforts to the full House of Representatives in order to pass an inclusive VAWA that is a real step forward for all victims of violence. That vote could be as early as next week so champions of the “real VAWA” have their work cut out for them.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
& Safety for Indian Women
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Location: Cannon House Office Building – Room 402
Violence against women has reached epidemic proportions: 34% of Native women will be raped in their lifetime and 39% will suffer domestic or intimate partner violence. Current law forces tribes to rely exclusively on far away federal—and in some cases, state—government officials to investigate and prosecute misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence committed by non-Indians against Native women. As a result, many cases go uninvestigated and criminals go unpunished, free to recommit. The U.S. Department of Justice has testified that this system of justice is insufficient to address the epidemic of violence against Native women.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 1925), which passed in the Senate with strong bipartisan support, contains tribal provisions that seek to address this jurisdictional gap and enhance the safety Native women. In this briefing, experts, advocates, and survivors will provide an in-depth overview of the tribal provisions of S.1925 and their critical import.
Featured Panelists –
- Moderator: Rita Aguilar, Attorney Advisor, Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice
- Sam Hirsch, Deputy Associate Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
- Virginia Davis, Deputy Director for Policy, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice
- Tracy Toulou, Director, Office of Tribal Justice, U.S. Department of Justice
- Moderator: John Harte, Partner, Mapetsi Policy Group; former Policy Director, U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
- Terri Henry, Co-Chair, NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women; Councilwoman, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
- Cherrah Ridge, Councilwoman, Muscogee (Creek) Nation
- Diane Millich, Executive Director, Our Sister’s Keeper (Tribal Coalition)