- Native American Legislaive Update
- Native Americans
Native American Legislative Update
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.
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.
Provisions of Savanna’s Act were included in H.R. 1585.
What We're Reading:
- Deb Haaland (NM-01) responds to the GOP attempt to remove tribal provisions in VAWA, “As a member of the United States Congress, we all take an oath that we are bound by to support and defend the Constitution ― a Constitution that acknowledges that tribal governments are sovereign nations.”
- Advocates call on Congress for funding, data to find missing, murdered Native women saying, “The U.S. does not have a uniform system for tracking reports of missing Native women on reservations. And what information is available is wildly inconsistent, depending on whether it is in a federal or private database, or reported by individuals or agencies.”