Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Mexico Delegation Fails To Support Bill That Would Outlaw Rape Of Native Women



Official New Mexico logo and state flag - borrowed from the Zia Tribe


A Minnesota congresswoman, Betty McCollum, has introduced a bill that would, among other things, make it possible for Tribal courts to prosecute non Natives who rape their Native domestic partners on tribal land. According to Native News Network:

The SAVE Native Women Act would give tribal courts special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction; enhance collaboration among the US Attorney General, Secretary of Health & Human Services, Secretary of the Interior, and tribal governments; provide federal grants so that tribal communities may prevent violent crimes, assist victims of abuse, and improve tribal justice systems; and mandate further research on violence committed against Native women.

It's wouldn't be surprising if not many people were aware that it's virtually impossible to prosecute non Natives in Tribal courts. You'd probably have to be a listener of Pacifica Radio or follow Native news outlets to know that 1 in 3 Native women have been subjected to rape or attempted rape, compared to an overall rate in the US of 1 in 6 women.

But it is surprising, to me, that not one of New Mexico's legislative delegation is a co-sponsor of McCollum's bill, since New Mexico ranks at or near the top in Native population, and it's surprising that similar legislation hasn't already been introduced in the Senate, since all of New Mexico's Democrats always say all the right things about womens' rights. It's especialy surprising to me that our new 1st District Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who campaigned and raised money specifically as a champion of womens' rights, didn't co-sposor the bill and hasn't said a word about it.




 I doubt many Natives are surprised, especially here in New Mexico with its history of conquest and reconquest and genocide and theft of Native land.

Here in New Mexico, where Natives first survived repeated attempts to wipe them off the face of the earth by the most powerful empire in the world at the time, the Spanish Empire, and since then have survived every attempt to wipe them off the face of the earth by the most powerful empire in the history of the world, The American Empire, but where, after all of it, they're still standing.






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