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FILE - Native American tribal members sing and drum in the rotunda of the Capitol in Olympia, Washington.The gathering was part of Native American Indian Lobby Day and supported issues such as the awareness of missing and murdered indigenous women in Washington state.Over the past several months, dozens of women have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by celebrities and politicians, prompting a global movement against sexual harassment.But Native American advocacy groups say far too little attention is focused on the issue of sexual violence against native women, which has been going on since colonial times, and that the vast majority of abusers are never brought to justice.2016 National Institute of Justice statistics back up their complaints: * More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime.
"This creates a racialized kind of impunity in which non-native people learn of their privileged racial status and then seek to exploit it in land where the only governing body that has the power to arrest and prosecute them is prevented from doing so," said Amy Casselman Hontalas, adjunct professor of ethnic studies at San Francisco State University and author of . In a partial fix to the problem, then-Senator Joe Biden of Delaware authored the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994, which has been reauthorized several times.Moreover, federal attorneys decline to prosecute more than half of violent crimes committed in Indian Country — the majority of which (67 percent) involve sexual abuse, according to a 2010 report by the U. VAWA 2013 gives tribes the authority to arrest and prosecute non-Indians who commit certain domestic violence crimes within their territory, but it stipulates they either must be living or working on tribal lands, and must be "the spouse, intimate partner or dating partner of an Indian living in Indian Country or a tribal member." "It's a very narrow carveout," Casselman Hontalas said."It kind of makes you wonder whose lives are valuable here.And if we determine that tribal criminal jurisdiction is a good thing, then why would we not extend it?
" Compounding matters, violence against native women isn't well-tracked, and many crimes aren't reported.
Tribes also lack the funds to address victims' needs.