Three tribes to exercise jurisdiction over non-Indian offenders

Three tribes will be the first in the nation to exercise authority over non-Indian offenders under S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

The law recognizes tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit domestic violence offenses in Indian Country. The provision doesn't kick in until March 2015 but the Department of Justice created a pilot project for those who wanted to participate earlier.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, and the Umatilla Tribes of Oregon were chosen for the project. Their approvals were announced today.

“This is just the latest step forward in this administration’s historic efforts to address the public safety crisis in Indian country,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release. “Every day, we’re working hard to strengthen partnerships with tribal leaders and confront shared challenges – particularly when it comes to protecting Indian women and girls from the shocking and unacceptably high rates of violence they too often face."

In Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, the U.S. Supreme Court held that tribes lack criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians unless authorized by treaty or an act of Congress.

Federal Register Notice:
Pilot Project for Tribal Jurisdiction over Crimes of Domestic Violence (November 29, 2013)

Join the Conversation
Trending in News
More Headlines