September 26, 2007

Indian Affairs Committee to Examine Violence Against Native American Women

U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) announced the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will conduct a hearing Thursday, September 27, to examine the prevalence of, and solutions to, violence against Native American women.
The hearing will be the third in a series of committee hearings to examine violent crime and law enforcement in Indian Country. The session will begin at 9:00 AM in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. A brief, 15-20 minute business meeting, including consideration of the Indian Housing Improvement Act, will precede the hearing, which will get underway at approximately 9:20 AM.
The hearing will focus on the problem of domestic violence and sexual assault. It will give special attention to an April 27, 2007, report by Amnesty International, “Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA.” The report highlighted the problem of violence against women on the nation’s Indian reservations.
Native American women are victims of violent crime at a rate 2.5 times the rate of other women in the United States. According to the Amnesty International report, a significant percentage of the attackers are non-Indians.
“Violence against Indian women is a problem that is both serious and urgent,” Dorgan said in announcing the hearing. “We intend to understand why these crimes occur, what factors contribute to them, and what steps we need to take to stop them.”
Among those who will testify at the hearings are a representative of Amnesty International who will discuss the groups report and recommendations; an Indian survivor of violent crime; prosecutors and local organizers from Indian communities who are working to stop violent crime and domestic violence; and a legal expert who will discuss proposals for reforming the jurisdictional maze that sometimes hinders law enforcement efforts on Indian reservations.