Act Now to Protect Indigenous Women

The senate just passed an incredibly important act, H.R. 725,also known as the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendment Act of 2010. While arts and crafts may not seem like a matter of life and death (except, of course, for the artisans–but that’s a different issue), attached to the act were most of the provisions of the “Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009,” and that’s where it gets monumental. Because of tribal law, sovereign nation status, and differing rules between tribal communities, a jurisdictional tangle and loophole has historically allowed for violent crime against indigenous women to go unpunished. Sexual assault and violence against Native American and Alaska women was not against the law!

The Tribal Law and Order Act represents an important step forward in combating violence against Native American women.  Violence that is an ongoing violation of Native American and Alaska Native women’s most fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Amnesty International detailed this violence in a 2007 report entitled Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA.  The report revealed shocking statistics of violence such as the fact that Native American and Alaska Native women are more than two and a half times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the United States in general.

But the victory is not yet complete!

The Indian Arts and Crafts Amendment Act must now pass the House with the Tribal Law and Order provisions attached. Take action now to let your Member of Congress know that you support passage of H.R. 725, the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendment Act, which includes the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009!

To find out who your Representative is, go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/ and enter your ZIP code.

Keep an eye out for an online action you can take – soon to be posted to the Amnesty International Maze of Injustice web page…and support Amnesty International while you’re there.

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