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News Release

National Indigenous Women's Resource Center

Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives voted 244 to 172 to pass the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2021 (H.R. 1620). The bill, which was introduced on March 8, 2021 by Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would increase safety for Native people and communities by restoring tribal jurisdiction over crimes of stalking, sexual assault, sex trafficking, child abuse, obstruction of justice, and assault on law enforcement and corrections officers in cases involving non-Native perpetrators.

H.R. 1620 includes language that largely mirrors H.R. 1585, which passed in the House with bipartisan support in 2019, and S.2843, which was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in November 2019. The bill would build on the progress of the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act reauthorization by further strengthening and affirming the inherent sovereign authority of Tribal Nations to hold non-Indian perpetrators accountable.

“H.R. 1620 is an important step forward in addressing jurisdictional gaps that leave Native women and children vulnerable,” said Lucy Simpson, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. Executive Director and a citizen of the Navajo Nation. “The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) applauds Representatives Jackson Lee, Fitzpatrick, and Nadler for their leadership, and the House of Representatives for taking swift action to pass Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.”

“Native victims of sexual violence, child abuse, stalking, and trafficking deserve the same protections that Congress afforded to domestic violence victims in Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act 2013,” said Juana Majel-Dixon, Co-Chair of the National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women. “This is about our right, as governments, to protect our citizens from violence. It is about the countless victims who have experienced life-changing trauma simply because federal law has tied our hands from protecting them. We cannot allow this to continue. Passage of Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act must be a priority in the 117th Congress, and we call on the Senate to move swiftly to take up H.R. 1620.”

This press release can be found online here.

About the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. (NIWRC) is a Native-led nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against Native women and children. National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. provides national leadership in ending gender-based violence in tribal communities by lifting up the collective voices of grassroots advocates and offering culturally grounded resources, technical assistance and training, and policy development to strengthen tribal sovereignty. niwrc.org

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