Native women fail to find justice

 

Updated 11:28 a.m. Jan 11, 2013

In 2005, two Native American women in Oklahoma were kidnapped, blindfolded, and raped by three non-native men. Because they were blindfolded, they didn't know if they were assaulted on state, federal, or tribal land. And, due to a tragic gap in the justice system, the location of the crime mattered -- a lot.

If the crime had occurred on tribal land, the non-native status of the attackers would have meant that the tribe could not handle the case locally. Serious offenses by non-natives on tribal land, like rape and murder, are prosecuted at the federal level. This inability for tribes to prosecute non-natives committing crimes on their land was cited in a 2007 Amnesty International report on the justice system’s failure to protect indigenous women. Why does this happen? A scarcity of federal prosecutors is one reason non-natives who commit crimes on tribal land get away with no prosecution. The New York Times reported that in 2011, 65 percent of rape cases on reservations went unprosecuted by the Justice Department. Misdemeanor crimes by non-natives, like domestic violence, often fall into a jurisdictional morass, say advocates, with no one authority taking charge of their prosecution.

That could have changed this year. The most recent version of the Violence Against Women Act, which was first passed in 1994, sought to ease the epidemic of violence against Native women by allowing tribal courts to prosecute non-tribal members for domestic violence, dating violence and violating restraining orders.


High Country News Classifieds
  • MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    For more information visit www. wyofile.com/careers/
  • THRIVING LOCAL HEALTH FOOD STORE FOR SALE
    Turn-key business opportunity. Successful well established business with room to grow. Excellent highway visibility.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    For more information, visit www.wyofile.com/careers/
  • SONORAN INSTITUTE, CEO
    Chief Executive Officer Tucson, Arizona ABOUT SONORAN INSTITUTE Since 1990, the Sonoran Institute has brought together diverse interests to successfully forge effective and enduring conservation...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a high-impact, nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 27-year legacy using...
  • PROJECT MANAGER
    Position Summary Join our Team at the New Mexico Land Conservancy! We're seeking a Project Manager who will work to protect land and water across...
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OUTREACH DIRECTOR
    Upper Missouri Waterkeeper seeks an Outreach Director to play a key role designing and leading activities and initiatives that engage citizens in water resource decisionmaking,...
  • WILDLIFE HAVEN
    Beautiful acreage with Teton Creek flowing through it. Springs and ponds, lots of trees, moose and deer. Property has barn. Easy access. approx. 33 acres.
  • ARIZONA CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Arizona Conservation Corps is seeking a Program Director in Flagstaff or Tucson
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...