Law | Opinion

Opinion: Alaska already recognizes tribal court protection orders

Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty and Commissioner Gary Folger claim the state already recognizes tribal protection orders despite the exclusion of Alaska tribes from S.47, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act:
We want to clear up confusion about protection orders issued by tribal courts in Alaska. The truth is the State of Alaska has recognized and enforced tribal court protection orders since at least 2008, as required by the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

The recent amendments to the VAWA did not change this. The “Alaska exception” to the 2013 VAWA amendments provides that Alaska tribes have the same jurisdiction now that they had before the amendments.

Because the State fully recognized and enforced tribal protection orders before the amendments, it continues to fully recognize and enforce tribal protection orders now. The Alaska exception neither expanded nor retracted the existing authority of tribal courts or the State, including tribal courts’ authority to issue protection orders to be enforced by the State.

It has always been the State’s position that an individual’s safety comes first. Presented with a tribal protection order, the trooper first ascertains whether a person is in imminent danger.

Get the Story:
Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty and Commissioner Gary Folger: Tribal court protection orders already recognized by Alaska (The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 6/22)

Indian Law and Order Commission Report:
A Roadmap For Making Native America Safer (November 2013)

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