Welcome to FCNL’s Native American Legislative Update! The NALU is a monthly newsletter about FCNL’s Native American policy advocacy and ways for you to engage your members of Congress. FCNL’s Congressional Advocate for Native American policy is Kerri Colfer (Tlingit).
Victim Services Must be Prioritized in the Next COVID-19 Stimulus Package
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a dangerous situation for those sheltering at home with an abuser. This problem is especially pronounced in Indian Country, where housing is limited and often overcrowded. Due to limited funding, many shelters and victim services programs are struggling to stay open.
The CARES Act (H.R. 748) included funding to address domestic violence. But it did not include any funding for Department of Justice programs, including those authorized under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Sens. Bob Casey (PA), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Amy Klobuchar (MN), along with 38 other senators from both parties, sent letters to Senate leadership requesting that the next COVID-19 relief package include more support for domestic violence and sexual assault-related programs. Specifically, the senators requested additional funding through the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, including a tribal set-aside.
FCNL Denounces Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation Disestablishment
On March 27, the Department of the Interior revoked the reservation status of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts. FCNL released a statement denouncing these actions and urging Congress to pass a clean Carcieri fix (H.R. 375/S. 2808). It would protect tribal trust lands like the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation. FCNL also called on legislators to restore the status of the reservation by passing the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act (H.R. 312).
Learn How to Lobby on the Violence Against Women Act
May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused rates of violence in Indian Country to spike and has prevented victims and survivors from seeking necessary help. To take action to end this crisis, please join us for a virtual lobby training on the Violence Against Women Act. Register here.
Documentary Screening: “A Broken Trust: Sexual Assault and Justice on Tribal Lands”
On April 16, FCNL and Amnesty International hosted a virtual screening of “A Broken Trust,” which highlights the jurisdictional challenges faced by tribal law enforcement and courts when seeking justice for sexual assault survivors in Indian Country. Watch the documentary here.
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019:
Passed in the House (H.R. 1585), two versions introduced in the Senate (S. 2920 and S. 2843).
Savanna’s Act (H.R. 2733/S. 227) and Not Invisible Act (H.R. 2438/S. 982):
Passed in the Senate and advanced in House.
Stories From and About Indian Country:
Remembering lessons from our ancestors is key to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Indian Country.
The Navajo Nation has more coronavirus cases per capita than all but two states, with a 367 percent rise in two weeks.
Federal judge grants request by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to strike down permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Clean energy produced on Navajo land could help power Los Angeles, according to a new city motion.
Coronavirus and Indian Country Podcast: Native American health facilities are underfunded. Now they have to cope with the pandemic.