16th Annual Government-to-Government Violence Against Women Tribal Virtual Consultation–August 17-20, 2021

Statements and Recommendations By Tribal Governments are Essential

Congress amended the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2005 to include a tribal title by which it requires an annual consultation to be organized by the USDOJ and Indian tribes dedicated to addressing violence against Indian women.

“Under the consultation mandate, the federal departments–Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Interior–must each consult annually with Indian nations on issues concerning the safety of Indian women. To continue to increase protections for Native women, Indian nations need to continuously identify the roadblocks and solutions that will allow us as governments to protect women.”—Juana Majel, Co- Chair, NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women

The annual consultation mandated by VAWA between the United States and Indian nations as governments is, on the highest level, a discussion of the legal, policy, and administrative issues essential to safeguard the lives of Indian women and the successful implementation of VAWA as governments. This nation-to-nation interaction provides an avenue for tribal governments and the United States to discuss matters that at the broadest level impact the safety of Indian women. It provides an opportunity to examine and address important issues that impact all Indian nations in providing safety for women.

Based on the various concerns identified from the consultations (2006-2012), Congress strengthened the consultation mandate when it reauthorized VAWA in 2013. These amendments addressed concerns from tribal leaders about the consultation process, allowing for mutual dialogue as governments regarding the legal and policy roadblocks to the safety of Native women.

The VAWA 2013 amendment to the consultation provision mandated the Department of Interior to attend and the Attorney General to submit to Congress a report detailing the tribal recommendations made during the consultation and the progress made in addressing tribal concerns. A copy of the 2020 Government-to-Government Violence Against Women Tribal Consultation Annual Report and past reports are available on the website of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) at www.justice.gov/ovw/tribal-consultation.



    VAWA Tribal Consultation Mandate

  •           Safety for Indian Women, VAWA 2005 §903 and VAWA 2013 §903
    • In General—The Attorney General shall conduct annual consultations with Indian tribal governments concerning the federal administration of tribal funds and programs established under this Act, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (Title IV of Public Law 103-322; 108 Stat. 1902), and the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 (division B of Public Law 106-386; 114 Stat. 1491).
    • Recommendations—During consultations under subsection (a), the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General shall solicit recommendations from Indian tribes concerning—
      1. administering tribal funds and programs;
      2. enhancing the safety of Indian women from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and
      3. strengthening the federal response to such violent crimes.



VAWA 2013 Amendments to the VAWA 2005 Consultation Mandate Require:

  • The Attorney General provides 120 days’ notice to Indian tribes of the date, time, and location of the annual consultation.
  • The Secretary of Interior attends the annual consultation.
  • The Attorney General submits to Congress an annual report that:
    • Contains the recommendations made by Indian tribes during the year covered by the report
    • Describes actions taken during the year to respond to recommendations made during the year or a previous year
    • Describes how the Attorney General will work in coordination and collaboration with Indian tribes, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of the Interior to address the recommendations
  • Sex trafficking was added to the list of items to be addressed at the consultation.


Tribal Preparation: the Essential Link for Annual Consultation on Violence Against Women

In preparation for each of the annual consultations, the NCAI Task Force has assisted Indian tribes in preparing for the consultation. The Task Force organizes a national webinar to summarize key national concerns and emerging issues for tribal leaders to consider in their preparation. During the webinar, tribal leaders and representatives receive a briefing of priority issues, specific tribal concerns and recommendations for the consultation. The webinar is scheduled for July 21, 2021.


Webinar graphic


  • Juana Majel Dixon, NCAI Violence Against Women Task Force, Co-Chair (invited)
  • Kelbie Kennedy, NCAI Policy Counsel, NCAI (invited)
  • Kerri Colfer, NIWRC Senior Native Affairs Advisor

This webinar is made possible by Grant Number 90EV0452 from the Administration of Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.