Demand a floor amendment to restore Native protections
Yesterday we sent you an Action Alert about the U.S. House of Representatives’ attempt to strip Native American protections from the reauthorization bill for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Unfortunately, those protections were removed from the bill, and the bill will now go to a floor vote in the House. The U.S. Senate passed the bill in April with the tribal provisions intact.
But we aren’t done yet! Now we ask you to contact your U.S. representative again – as soon as possible – to demand that they support a floor amendment to the bill that will restore the Native American protections that were in the Senate version of the bill.
That language provides tribal court jurisdiction and protection order provisions for tribes in the lower 48 states which, according to Indian Country Today, are “meant to curb the violence epidemic that exists on many reservations.” The U.S. Justice Department has said the provisions are constitutional and would help curb high crime rates facing many reservations.
The National Congress of American Indians is also asking its constituents to take this action, saying they should urge their U.S. representatives “to support a floor amendment to H.R. 4970 that would restore the critical protections for Native women contained in the bipartisan Senate bill.”
These protections are critical. Violence against Native American women occurs at a much higher rate than non-Native women. National crime statistics indicate that one in three American Indian women will be raped during their lifetime. Data from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that Native women suffer violent crime at a rate three and a half times greater than the national average. According to NCAI, “Indian tribes are the only governments in America without jurisdiction to combat certain types of domestic violence in their communities” and that the bill, with the provisions included, will “address this jurisdictional gap with local solutions that will deliver long-overdue justice to Native women and safety to tribal communities.” (More background on the issue from NCAI can be found here. )
Please take a few minutes NOW to contact your Representative with the following letter and urge them to demand a floor amendment to restore the Native American protections in the House version of the VAWA reauthorization bill.