Preparing for DOJ OVW Tribal Consultation
17th Annual Government-to-Government Consultation on Violence Against Women
In 2005, Congress amended the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to include a Tribal title, mandating that the U.S. Department of Justice organize an annual Tribal consultation dedicated to addressing violence against Indian women with federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes. In 2022, the 17th Annual Government-to-Government Violence Against Women Tribal Consultation will take place in Anchorage, Alaska, from September 21-23, 2022, organized by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).
The 2022 reauthorization of VAWA continued the progress to address violence against Indian women, affirming the authority of Tribal governments to respond to violence against Indian women by non-Indian offenders within their respective jurisdiction. VAWA 2022 recognized the injustice of failing to include Maine and Alaska Indian Tribes within the 2013 Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction provision and includes language for Maine Tribes and the creation of a historic Alaska Pilot Project. Concerns and discussion regarding the implementation of these and other critically needed VAWA 2022 Tribal sections are essential to this September’s annual consultation.
At the broadest level, this nation-to-nation interaction provides a forum for Tribes and the United States to discuss, examine, and address issues and matters that directly impact the safety of Indian women. Statements and recommendations made by Tribal Nations are an essential part of the Tribal consultation process. This consultation is a dedicated space for Tribal leaders and authorized representatives to bring forward any legal, policy, and administrative issues essential to safeguard the lives of Indian women and the successful implementation of VAWA to the United States federal government.
“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
Because of several concerns identified from the Tribal consultations from 2006 to 2012, Congress strengthened the consultation mandate in the reauthorization of VAWA in 2013. The VAWA 2013 amendment addressed concerns from Tribal leaders about the consultation process, allowing for mutual dialogue with governments regarding the legal and policy roadblocks to the safety of Native women.
VAWA amendments to the consultation provision mandated the Departments of Interior and Health and Human Services to attend, as well as for the U.S. Attorney General to submit a report to Congress detailing Tribal recommendations and the progress made in addressing Tribal concerns. To view the 2021 OVW Tribal Consultation Annual Report, visit n8ve.net/Fldl9. Past consultation reports can be found on the Department of Justice’s website at n8ve.net/kr3Lr.
Resources to Help Prepare for Consultation
Consultations between the U.S. federal government and Tribal governments provide critically important venues to address violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) offers consultation support to assist Tribal leaders in identifying priority issues and in the development of recommendations for systemic improvements to increase the safety of Native women. NIWRC staff can provide resource materials to help Tribal leaders, grassroots advocates, and Tribal coalitions prepare for consultations and engage with the federal government. Visit our Consultation Support page on our website at niwrc.org/consultation-support for more information. You can also connect with our staff for assistance at niwrc.org/contact.
In preparation for each of the annual Tribal consultations, the NIWRC and the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) Task Force on Violence Against Women have assisted Indian Tribes with their preparations. The organizations will be releasing a priorities brief outlining important information in advance of Tribal consultation for Tribal leaders later this summer. Visit our Consultation Support page on our website at niwrc.org/consultation-support for this priorities document when released.
NIWRC, NCAI, and the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center will host a national webinar to summarize key national concerns and emerging issues for Tribal leaders and representatives to consider in advance of Tribal consultation. During the webinar, Tribal leaders and representatives receive a briefing on priority issues, specific Tribal concerns, and recommendations for the consultation. Please join us for this preparatory webinar this summer. Visit our Events page on our website for more information and to register: niwrc.org/events.