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Senate set to vote on VAWA with tribal jurisdiction provisions





The Senate is set to vote today or tomorrow on S.47, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

The bill includes provisions to recognize tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit domestic violence offenses on reservations. Tribes have long been pushing for the change, which is supported by the White House.

“From what we know about the high rates of intimate partner violence against Native women, about the fact that assaults against Native women tend to take place at private residences, about the reports from Native women of perceived perpetrator race, and about the high rates of interracial marriage and unmarried partners of Native women, it is clear that violence against Native women tends to be perpetrated by non-Native men," the National Congress of American Indians said in a policy brief.

The Senate passed a similar version of the bill last year. But Republicans in the House objected, citing constitutional concerns.

“My question for Congress was and has always been, why did you not protect me or my family?” Deborah Parker, the vice chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, said last year when the bill was being debated. “Why is my life, and the life of so many other Native American women less important?”

Congress has recognized tribal criminal jurisdiction over all Indians, a provision that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in US v. Lara.

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