Monday, July 28, 2008

Georgia Little Shield Requests Your Attention and Action

Pretty Bird Woman House

was created by Jackie Brown Otter, after the brutal rape and murder of her sister. They, while operating in an environment that ranges from indifference to outright hostility have been laboring mightily to improve the lives of women on the various Reservations, most notably, Standing Rock.

Here is the email from this morning reprinted whole, I have gone through and re-embedded the links.

Hi everybody,

I just wanted to pass along the latest post from the blog. Georgia emailed me again asking people to contact their Senators to make sure they vote for this bill.

Here it is:
Georgia Little Shield has asked everyone to contact their Senators about the Tribal Law and Order Act introduced by Senator Dorgan, with Senators Murkowski, Biden, Domenici, Baucus, Bingaman, Lieberman, Kyl, Johnson, Smith, Cantwell, Thune, and Tester co-sponsoring.

You can contact your member of Congress through

According to Senator Dorgan's office, the law would help by:

• Enhancing coordination between the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and tribal communities about the investigation and prosecution of Indian country crimes.

• Encouraging more aggressive prosecution of reservation crimes at the federal level. Between 2004 and 2007, the United States declined to prosecute 62 percent of Indian country criminal cases referred to federal prosecutors.

• Enhancing the sentencing authority of tribal courts to punish offenders with up to three years imprisonment. Current law limits tribal court sentencing authority to no more than one year

• Expanding programs that authorize tribal police to make arrests for all crimes committed on Indian lands, and that provide direct access to national crime databases to arm police with vital criminal history information about suspects.

• Investing in existing programs meant to improve courts, jails, youth programs, and policing efforts in Indian Country.

• Addressing the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault in Indian Country by enhancing training and coordination to aid the investigation and prosecution of crimes of sexual violence.

Go here for the full press release.

Here's part of the Amnesty International press release on the legislation (for the full press release, see the posts below):

The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2008 is in direct response to concerns raised by tribal leaders, tribal organizations, Native American and Alaska Native women and the AI report, which helped bring widespread attention to the high rates of crimes on tribal lands and the obstacles that victims face in securing justice. Specifically, the Act is intended to clarify the responsibilities of federal, state, and tribal governments with respect to crimes committed in tribal communities; increase coordination and communication among federal, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies; restore tribal governments with necessary authority, resources, and information to address crimes committed on tribal land; combat violence against Indian and Alaska Native women; and to increase and standardize the collection and distribution of criminal data among all levels of government responsible for responding to and investigating crimes in tribal communities, including the data necessary to establish whether or not crimes are being prosecuted.

It seems to me that we often get ourselves into a state of high dudgeon over events in places like Darfur and China when there are unspeakable abuses taking place right in our own backyards. There are many, larger issues of soveriegnity, independence of Native Nations, that are among the many cans of worms this legislation might open.

Please lend an ear, and a hand. Pretty Bird Woman House is always in need of donations. You may visit their website Pretty Bird Woman House for a list of pressing needs and courses of action, like finding ways of maximizing your donation through groups that match funds.

You may also sign up for Friends of Pretty Bird Woman House to receive email alerts.

Thank you my friends.