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Native American Legislative Update

March 2019

By Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco , March 25, 2019


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 Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco (Shinnecock/Kiowa).

Threat to Tribal Protections in Violence Against Women Act

On March 7, Reps. Karen Bass (CA-37) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) introduced H.R. 1585, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Included in this bill were provisions that would strengthen the protections for Native women, children, and tribal officers.

The legislation expands tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians to include crimes of sexual assault, stalking, sex trafficking, assault of a tribal officer, and child abuse. These provisions will address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women by improving responses to missing cases through better communication between tribal, state, local, and federal law enforcement. It will also improve data collection and tribal access to federal crime databases.

H.R. 1585 made it out of the House Judiciary Committee, but not without a serious threat to these tribal provisions. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (WI-05) introduced an amendment that would have entirely revoked tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians. This amendment would be a major setback in the progress made in protecting Native women. While the amendment did not pass, it shows that there is still a need for education on tribal jurisdiction and how important it is for public safety within Native American communities.

The bill is now set for a full House vote the first week of April. Now is the time to act! Tell your representative to support keep Native communities safe by voting yes for H.R. 1585!

Haskell Indian Nations University Visit

On February 13, I spoke at the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. I talked about FCNL’s Native American policy work, our current legislative priorities, and the various ways students can engage and build relationships with their representatives. This visit was part of FCNL's effort recruit the next fellow for the Congressional Advocate on Native American Policy program.

A Two-Year Professional Fellowship for Native Americans

FCNL is seeking candidates for a 27-month advocacy fellowship in Washington D.C. American Indian and Alaska Native tribal members are strongly encouraged to apply. Learn more and apply by June 1.

Bill Tracker

Reauthorization of the Violence Aganst Women Act:

Bipartisan bill, H.R. 1585 introduced in the House and scheduled for a full House vote the first week of April.

Savanna’s Act:

Provisions of Savanna’s Act were included in H.R. 1585.

What We're Reading:


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Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco

  • Congressional Advocate, Native American Advocacy Program

Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco managed the Native American Advocacy program from 2017-2019. In that capacity she lobbied on legislation that affects Native communities and built connections between tribes, tribal organizations, and non-Indian allies, particularly among a wide range of faith groups, to ensure tribal needs were addressed.