Annual Tribal Consultation on Violence Against Native Women As Mandated Under the VAWA 2005, Safety for Indian Women Title August 21-22, 2018, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

“Under the consultation mandate, the federal departments—Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Interior-must each consult annually with Indian nations on issues concerning the safety of Indian women. To continue to increase protections for Native women, Indian nations need to continuously identify the roadblocks and solutions that will allows us as governments to protect women.” —Juana Majel, Co-Chair, NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women.

The 2018 annual consultation held in Sioux Falls marked 12 years of annual consultations between Indian tribes and federal departments on violence against Native women. These consultations have driven federal legislative and policy reform for more than a decade and resulted in major changes to increase the safety of Indian women. This nation-to-nation engagement provides an avenue for Indian tribes and the United States to discuss matters that at a foundational level prevent tribal governments from providing safety for women.

At the 2018 consultation in Sioux Falls Indian tribes presented the legal, policy, and administrative issues preventing their tribal governments from safeguarding the lives of Indian women. Many of the barriers identified by tribal leaders were legal ones—existing laws passed by Congress, U.S. Supreme Court rulings from decades ago, or administrative policies of federal departments. Tribal leaders highlighted priority concerns including:

  • amendments to 25 USC 1304 that will address jurisdictional gaps and help ensure that the tribal domestic violence criminal jurisdiction provision included in VAWA 2013 is able to achieve its purpose;
  • the creation of a permanent authorization for DOJ’s Tribal Access toNational Crime Information Program and opening the program to be inclusive of all Indian tribes;
  • improving the justice response to cases of missing and murdered women in tribal communities; and
  • legal barriers, in conflict with the purposes of the VAWA, preventing certain Indian tribes from protecting Native women such as in the states of Maine and Alaska.