Opinion

Katrice Romero: Protect Native women from acts of violence





"As the Violence Against Women Act comes to a potential vote in the Senate this week, women across the nation have been left to ponder their worth and to what extent the U.S. government cares to protect them from violence, especially Native American women. For Native Americans, the Violence Against Women Act has struck a chord that tugs on the heartstrings of sovereignty.

Native American women suffer some of the highest rates of violent crimes. At least 70 percent of Native American female victims were victimized by non-Native American perpetrators, according to a 1999 Department of Justice report. This problem is complicated by jurisdictional constraints over crimes committed by non-Native Americans on tribal lands because tribes do not have jurisdiction to prosecute their crimes.

Rather, jurisdiction is vested in federal authorities and agencies often hundreds of miles away from the reservations and the communities they are charged to protect, leaving tribes defenseless to protect their own Native American women. The only appropriate response to the severity of violence against Native American women is for Congress to pass a Violence Against Women Act that protects them."

Get the Story:
Katrice Romero: Protect Native American women, pass the Violence Against Women Act (The Seattle Times 2/7)

Related Stories:
White House backs tribal jurisdiction provisions in VAWA bill (2/5)
Frontline: Closing a loophole in VAWA to help Native women (2/5)
Ryan Dreveskracht: Tribal provisions of VAWA up for debate (2/5)
Opinion: The Violence Against Women Act is on life support (01/28)
Matt Remle: Violence against women, violence against earth (1/25)
Haley Elkins: Media goes silent on the failure to pass VAWA (1/24)
NCAI calls on Congress to pass Violence Against Women Act (01/24)