Published April 4, 2019
WASHINGTON — This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 263 to 158 to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 1585), marking an important step toward restoring public safety and justice on tribal lands.
Inserted in the legislation is the recognition that Native children who are equally in need of the protections that were extended to adult domestic violence victims in VAWA 2013.
In 2016, the National Institute of Justice report found that 1.5 million American Indian and Alaska Native women had experienced violence in their lifetime.
In March, the Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States held a hearing to examine the silent crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. The hearing featured four Native American women as expert witnesses, who testified that Congress and federal agencies have not honored their trust responsibilities to Native communities and that stopping the epidemic of violence against Native women will take time and resources not currently being offered.
“As tribal leaders, we have no greater priority than protecting our women, children, and elders. Too often, we as Native women are invisible but today, we celebrate and thank the representatives here for seeing us, for standing with us, and for fighting with us.” She also urged the Senate to move quickly to take up this legislation, saying “Victims in Indian Country cannot wait. We will not accept a bill that leaves Native victims behind. They are counting on us,” said Juana Majel-Dixon, Co-Chair for the Task Force on Violence Against Women and Recording Secretary at National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) responded to the favorable outcome at a press conference held immediately after the vote.