Native Women Rally As U.S. Supreme Court Takes on Tribal Jurisdiction in Supreme Court Case

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Rally to be held at U.S. Supreme Court on Monday

Published December 1, 2015

WASHINGTON — On December 7, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon EST, hundreds of supporters will rally on the steps of the United States Supreme Court as oral arguments begin in Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a case that threatens the safety of Native women and children nationwide.

After lower federal courts upheld tribal sovereignty, Dollar General asked the Supreme Court to declare that Indian Tribes have no civil jurisdiction over non-Indian defendants, even when they are accused of sexually assaulting Native women and children on tribal lands.

“Dollar General’s attempt to avoid any accountability for the alleged conduct of its supervisor through this case could have far-reaching and devastating consequences for the ability of Indian Tribes to protect their Native women and children,” said Lucy Simpson, Executive Director of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of 105 organizations. “Our Native women and children suffer the highest rates of violence and sexual assault in the United States, with the majority of those assaults committed by non-Indians.”

The event is being organized by the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (“NIWRC”), FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture (“FORCE”), and the Indian Law Resource Center to demand justice for Native women and children and the inherent right of their Tribal Governments to protect them.

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The rally will begin with a national moment of prayer for the safety and healing of survivors of sexual abuse led by Traditional Chief Arvol Looking Horse. Songs of inspiration and encouragement will be offered by Juana Majel Dixon, Traditional Legislative Counsel, Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, and Greg Grey Cloud.

At 10:30 a.m., the Walk will move to the U.S. Capitol Lawn Area 9 across from the Supreme Court, where a Monument Quilt will be on display throughout the rally. The Monument Quilt, which spans more than five basketball courts, is an ongoing project to create a public healing space for survivors of rape and abuse.

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Scheduled speakers include Councilwoman Bonnie Juneau of the Tulalip Indian Tribes; Tribal Court Judge Melissa Pope of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi; Executive Director Carmen O’Leary of the Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains;  Cherrah Giles, NIWRC Board President; Terri Henry, Co-Chair, National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women; Michelle Demmert, Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center; Jana Walker, Attorney, Indian Law Resource Center; Lucy Simpson, NIWRC Executive Director;  Authors of the NIWRC Amicus Brief Mary Kathryn Nagle, Attorney, Pipestem Law Firm, P.C., and Sarah Deer, Professor, William Mitchell College of Law; and others.

Learn more about the Quilt Walk for Justice and Dollar General Amicus Brief at www.niwrc.org or on the Quilt Walk Facebook page.

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