US Attorney: Criminal injustice in Indian Country
"True or false: One out of every 10 Native American women living in the United States will be raped at least once in her lifetime.

Answer: False. In truth, more than one-third of all Native American women will be raped at least once. And for native women living on many of our country's roughly 300 Indian reservations, the rate of violent sexual abuse is far higher. In one recent study, professor Barbara Perry of the University of Ontario found that Native American victims report fewer than 25 percent of all violent crimes to law enforcement.

Experts agree that perhaps more than any other ethnic group in our country, Indian people are disproportionately victims of violent crime.

And unlike nearly all other U.S. citizens, Native Americans living on reservations are legally required to depend almost entirely on federal law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges for their public- safety needs. This includes all "major crimes," such as murder and felony assault, where Congress and the courts have stripped Indian tribes of their traditional powers to handle such offenses.

Many Americans - native and non-native alike - are surprised to learn that a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court decision actually prevents sovereign Indian tribal governments from exercising any criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit crimes on Indian reservations, including the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute nations in Southwestern Colorado.

The court also recently ruled that tribes have no legal ability to enforce Congress' "trust" obligation to protect them.

In other words, there is no trust account, no minimum funding requirement, to ensure that public-safety and criminal-justice needs on Indian reservations are met. The tribes simply get whatever Congress chooses to appropriate in any given year for law enforcement and other essential governmental services."

Get the Story:
US Attorney Troy Eid: Keeping the law in Indian Country (The Denver Post 6/24)

Amnesty International Report:
Full Report | Press Release

Online Discussion:
Violence against Native American and Alaska Native Women (April 24, 2007)

Relevant Links:
Join Voices with Native American and Alaska Native Women and Take Action to Stop the Violence - http://www.amnestyusa.org/maze

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