The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is back in front of the Senate today, as S.47, the VAWA bill that has been heavily debated recently could end the day with a final vote.
This morning the National Congress of American Indian’s (NCAI) Taskforce on Violence Against Women sent a letter to Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) prior to the start of the sessions this morning expressing strong opposition to any harmful amendments offered to the Senate legislation to reauthorize VAWA that would strip tribal jurisdiction provisions or alter the current language in S.47 in a harmful manner according to an NCAI press release.
The letter by NCAI Task Force co-chairs Juana Majel Dixon (Pauma Band of Mission Indians) and Terri Henry (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) states, “Amendments which place more funding in the hands of federal authorities will not address…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. Also, tribal courts and authorities are the appropriate triers of fact for domestic violence matters conducted on Indian reservations.”
“I am not going to treat Native American women as second-class citizens in the United States of America,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said on the Senate floor of the Violence Against Women Act currently on C-Span as a vote could come later today. “Let’s get our job done and let's protect all women throughout the United States of America,” she concluded.