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US Attorneys host tribes for Violence Against Women Act session

The Tribal Implementation of the Violence Against Women Act was held on Tuesday in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo by Miss Nikke / Twitter

U.S. Attorneys from three states hosted tribal leaders and advocates in South Dakota on Tuesday to discuss the Violence Against Women Act.

Congress recognized tribal sovereignty in Section 904 of S.47, the 2013 law that reauthorized VAWA. Tribes can arrest, prosecute and try non-Indians for certain domestic violence offenses as long as their justice systems protect the constitutional rights of defendants.

"Previously tribes did not have jurisdiction over non-Indians, even if they committed acts of domestic violence or violated protection orders in Indian Country," Randy Seiler, the acting U.S. Attorney for South Dakota said at the conference in Rapid City, KELO reported. "This act provides that under certain circumstances, where there are due-process guarantees, tribes can exercise jurisdiction over non-Indians."

The tribal jurisdiction provisions went into effect last month. But five tribes were part of an early pilot project at the Department of Justice and three of them have been prosecuting non-Indians for more than a year.

Other tribes are examining their justice systems in hopes of exercising authority under VAWA. The conference was aimed at helping them with that process.

The U.S. Attorneys from South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska, along with the University of South Dakota School of Law hosted the conference.

Get the Story:
Conference Aimed at Helping Tribes Fight Domestic Violence (KELO 4/1)
A Question of Justice: Navajo Nation Considers Violence Against Women Act (Indian Country Today 4/2)

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