Current Issue

Reauthorization of VAWA: Safety of Native Women and Sovereignty of American Indian and Alaska Native Nations

“I remember as a little girl laying on top of a slope as a sentry watching for agents to warn our parents and the elders doing ceremony. Our spirituality was made illegal, outlawed.” —Tillie Black Bear, Grandmother of the Movement for Safety, and Founding Member of NIWRC The movement for the safety of Native women...

A National Vigil Honoring Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls

Advocates, tribal leaders, tribal coalitions, allies, and the general public gathered in the Nation’s capital at the National Museum of the American Indian on September 11, to honor Native women and girls who are missing or who have been murdered. The candlelight vigil included a shawl ceremony, a drum circle, and heartfelt prayers. The event...

Juana Majel Dixon, Co-chair, NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women Statement National Vigil Honoring Missing and Murdered Native Women

I would like to thank all of you for attending tonight’s vigil for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Friends and family members of victims, advocates, legislators, judges, tribal citizens, allies, and those who have traveled from far away for tonight, thank you for coming to hear our voices on this crisis that is...

Leanne Guy, Executive Director, Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition Statement National Vigil Honoring Missing and Murdered Native Women

Hello, my name is Leanne Guy. I’m from the Diné Nation in the Four Corners area. My clans are Tó’áhani (Near to Water) and I’m born for Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water). My chei (maternal grandfather) is Tábaahí and my nali (paternal grandfather) is Táchii’nii (Red Running into the Water). I am a mother, grandmother, sister, auntie,...

StrongHearts Native Helpline Is Here for You

Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), Assistant Director of the StrongHearts Native Helpline Domestic violence isn’t always an easy topic to discuss, but we see the signs of abuse all around us. It affects our sisters, mothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, youth and elders, and can range from physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual...

StrongHearts Native Helpline Receives Its 1,000th Call from Those Affected by Domestic Violence and Dating Violence Across Indian Country and Alaska

Mallory Black (Diné), Communications Manager for the StrongHearts Native Helpline Calls received at helpline paint a picture of Native victims’ experience and critical need for culturally-based supportive services for American Indians and Alaska Natives In time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE) announced 1,000 callers have now reached out to the...

The Tillie Black Bear Women Are Sacred Day, October 1, 2018

Tillie Black Bear (Sicangu Lakota), Wa Wokiye Win (Woman Who Helps Everyone), gave hope and healing to generations of Native Americans and aspiring allies by participating in the initial organizing of the Violence Against Women Movement on a national level to change laws and policies at the root of these injustices and disparities. She inspired...

Dorma Sahneyah Departs NIWRC: Congratulations! New Executive Director for the Hopi Tribe

It is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to Dorma Sahneyah as the Director of Technical Assistance/Training within NIWRC. Dorma has been a part of NIWRC since the beginning. She started as one of our founding Board members in 2010, representing the Southwest region. In early 2011, she resigned as a Board member...

Recap: Hundreds of Advocates Gather for Women Are Sacred Conference to Further Safety for Native Women and Children

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – More than 500 attended the 13th Women Are Sacred Conference (WAS), one of the oldest and largest gatherings of advocates dedicated to ending violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and children, held this week at the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. The conference, presented by the National Indigenous Women’s...

Pouhana O Na Wahine Sharing at Women Are Sacred Conference 2018

By Paula Julian, Policy Specialist, NIWRC For the first time since 1998 in the 20-year history of our Women Are Sacred Conferences, a hui (group) of five Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) advocates participated and presented at the Conference in Albuquerque, June 26–28, 2018. The theme of the Conference was Resilience: Walking in Ancestral Footprints, Carrying...

The Implications of CARPENTER v. MURPHY for Native Women

By Mary Kathryn Nagle The State of Oklahoma’s attempt to have the Creek Nation Reservation declared “disestablished” could have serious, harmful consequences for Native women and the Tribal Nations who seek to protect them. Recently, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals examined all of the legislative acts passed by Congress surrounding the creation of Oklahoma...

Looking Back: American Indian Tribes and VAWA, 1994—2013

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which Senators Biden and Hatch originally sponsored, was enacted in 1994 as a result of national grassroots organizing by battered women and advocates. This also included Indian women who organized to engage state and federal systems to hold governments accountable to address the nationwide statistics, crisis, and seriousness of...

Join the Movement to Reauthorize VAWA Your Action Is Needed! Support H.R. 6545!

Congress failed to reauthorize VAWA before the September 30, 2018, deadline by not taking action on H.R. 6545, a bill introduced by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee to reauthorize VAWA. Instead, Congress voted to pass a continuing resolution. Many interpreted this as a ploy to allow Congress to avoid taking meaningful action until after the midterm...

A Tribal Perspective on VAWA 2018, Sitting Second Chair: An Opening Conversation on the Department of Justice’s Tribal SAUSA Program

By Caroline LaPorte, Senior Native Affairs Advisor, NIWRC Each VAWA reauthorization creates the opportunity to further strengthen the tribal justice response to violence against Native women. In this context, it also challenges the movement to determine the priorities in our strategic reform efforts. This article analyzes the Tribal SAUSA program, an important program with significant...

A Tribal Perspective on VAWA 2018: Extending the Same Protections for Alaska Native Women

By Michelle Demmert, Chief Justice of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Supreme Court The time is now to end the confusion and remove the dangerous jurisdictional maze preventing Alaska Native villages and tribal courts from fully protecting Native women. We have seen the disproportionate representation of Alaska Native women...

Tlingit and Haida VAW Task Force to Gather Community Response to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Alaska

By Pamela Stearns It has been more than a year since the unsolved suspicious death of Jade Williams (19) of Kake, and nearly a year since the death of Francile Turpin (37) of Klawock. Now, more than ever, our community demands action to end this violence. The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes...

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center Board of Directors Standing for VAWA

The National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women

Update: House Passes FVPSA Reauthorization Act 2018, H.R. 6014

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center celebrates the passage of H.R. 6014 to reauthorize the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). NIWRC urges the Senate to act with a sense of urgency and swiftly pass its companion, S. 2784. FVPSA is the only dedicated federal funding source for domestic violence shelters and services. “In...

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

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...

Annual Consultation Tribal Priority Issues and Pending Legislation

The following three concerns and recommendations are only highlights of those identified by Indian tribes during the 2018 consultation. These issues are not new and reflect the complicated legal and policy barriers embedded in the layers of federal Indian law that impact the safety of Native women. Fortunately, resolution of some of these priority issues...

Consultation Tribal Statement by Catherine Edwards

By Catherine Edwards, 6th Vice President of Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, located in Southeast Alaska and comprised of 32,000 tribal citizens. This morning, as we witnessed the posting of the colors, I saw that POW-MIA flag, and a thought occurred to me that it’s about time we start posting that...

Consultation Concerns and Recommendations: Excerpts of Tribal Testimony Addressing Specific State Barriers

“The Wabanaki Tribal Courts already met most of the requirements set forth to exercise the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction when VAWA 2013 was passed only to have the Attorney General of the State of Maine determine that Maine would not recognize the Wabanaki Tribes’ right to exercise the tribal special DV criminal jurisdictions of...

International Update

By Jana L. Walker and Christopher Foley, Attorneys, Indian Law Resource Center UN Human Rights Council The Human Rights Council works to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights and to investigate human rights violations. During its 38th session in Geneva on June 18–July 6, the Council held its annual day-long discussion on women’s...

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Public Hearing

The extreme level of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women in the United States is again gaining global attention. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held a thematic hearing to investigate human rights concerns related to this crisis on October 5, 2018 at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder, Colorado. “It...

Third Meeting of the Trilateral Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women

The Trilateral Working Group on Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls met for the third time in Mexico City, October 2–3. This year’s meeting focused on three themes: youth, entrepreneurship, and missing and murdered indigenous women. The Trilateral Working Group’s meetings are intended to provide governments and indigenous peoples the opportunity to engage in dialogue...

Tri-Lateral Work Group Meeting on Violence Against Indigenous Women, Mexico City, Mexico

October 2, 2018 Remarks by Nicole Matthews Boozhoo Indinawe-maaganag! Nicole Matthews Zhaaginaashimong. Manidoo- Bineshiikwe indigo. Migizi indoodem. Gaa-waabaabiganiikaag indoonjibaa. Greetings my relatives! My English name is Nicole Matthews, and my Indian name is Spirit Bird Woman. I am Eagle clan, and I am from the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. I am truly honored to...

Sex Trafficking: VAWA 2013—2018

Over the last decade, the efforts of tribal advocates and coalitions has resulted in the increased awareness of the long history of trafficking and current impact these crimes have on Native women and tribal communities. The Minnesota Indians Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, and other advocacy organization work daily to increase...