6-Point Action Plan to Reform Current Systemic Barriers and Restore Safety of Indigenous Women
Traditionally, like the land, Indigenous women were respected and held sacred within their Indigenous Nations. Colonization eroded this status and dehumanized Indigenous women, destroying original protections within their communities. The current spectrum of violence against Indigenous women is intertwined with systemic barriers embedded within the U.S. federal government. These barriers developed as the U.S. seized the homelands and natural resources of Indigenous peoples, forcibly removed and relocated Indigenous people, and created living conditions where women are vulnerable to violence. To fully address the current crisis of violence against Indigenous women, these systemic barriers must be removed and the sacred status of women restored. To that end, we urge the U.S. government to reaffirm and support Indigenous protective systems by:
- Restoring the full authority of American Indian and Alaska Native Nations to protect Indigenous women, including through the support of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 2021’s expansion of Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction for Indian Nations.
- Recognizing and respecting Indigenous responses of Native Hawaiian communities and organizations to protect Indigenous women, including through the support of a Native Hawaiian Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
- Ensuring adequate resources for advocacy and services for Indigenous women, including by support of Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021 (FVPSA) Tribal funding increases and establishment of a permanent, dedicated funding stream for Tribes in the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).
- Removing the systemic barriers facing families of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) including by supporting implementation of Savanna’s Act and Not Invisible Act and the development and adoption of additional MMIW legislation in consultation with Alaska Native and American Indian Nations and Native Hawaiians.
- Implementing a thorough federal response to MMIW by requiring every federal department to develop action plans with meaningful consultation with American Indian Nations, Alaska Native Nations, and Native Hawaiians to address MMIW.
- Recognizing that both land and Indigenous women are sacred and connected, and that both require legislative and policy actions to protect them from extractive industries and corporate interests, such as the passage of the Save Oak Flat, HR 1884/S.915.