Congress Enacts Historic Legislation to Help Indian Tribes Combat Violence Against Native Women

(February 28, 2013) Today, by a vote of 286 to 138, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Because the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 78 to 22, passed the same VAWA reauthorization bill on February 12, it will now be presented to the President for his signature.

A copy of S. 47, as passed by both chambers of Congress, can be found at this link:

Much of Title IX of the bill, on “Safety for Indian Women,” was drawn from the U.S. Department of Justice’s July 2011 proposal for new Federal legislation to help Indian tribes combat violence against Native women. Section 904 of S. 47 recognizes tribes’ concurrent criminal jurisdiction to investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence non-Indians who assault Indian spouses, intimate partners, or dating partners, or who violate protection orders, in Indian country. With this legislation, tribes will be able to prosecute non-Indian criminals for the first time since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe in 1978.

Download a copy of the Justice Department’s July 2011 proposal