ICWA and VAWA: Preserving Tribal Sovereignty to Protect our Women and Children

Both the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Violence Against Women Act tribal jurisdiction provision (section 904) recognize the inherent sovereignty of Indian Nations to protect their women and children.  However, both are under attack.  This webinar will take a close look at the non-Indian attacks on ICWA and VAWA, how they intersect, and what lessons we can learn from defending these attacks to ensure that our own communities best utilize these important laws to protect our women and children.

Mary Kathryn joined Pipestem Law in 2015. She specializes in federal Indian law and has drafted numerous appellate briefs in federal courts, including federal appellate courts and the United States Supreme Court. In 2013, she drafted and filed an amicus brief on behalf of current and former members of Congress in the Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl case in the United States Supreme Court. Mary Kathryn has extensive experience defending tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Tribal Nations to protect their lands and citizens from domestic violence and sexual assault. Most recently, Mary Kathryn has drafted and submitted three briefs in the Supreme Court on behalf of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, as well as Indian Tribes, in support of tribal jurisdiction in cases that concern assault, violence, and/or provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. These briefs are a part of the “VAWA Sovereignty Initiative,” an Initiative that NIWRC has hired Mary Kathryn and Pipestem Law to carry out. Prior to joining a corporate litigation firm in 2010, she clerked at both the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, as well as the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. She graduated summa cum laude from Tulane Law School where she worked in the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic.