Press Releases

Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence Hosts Roundtable on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Sexual Violence on Tribal Lands

Today, the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, led by Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Joyce (R-OH), and John Katko (R-NY), hosted a roundtable discussion on missing and murdered native women and sexual violence on tribal lands. Native American women face a murder rate that is three times higher than that of white women, and 84% of Native women experience some form of violence in their lifetime. Native women are almost twice as likely as white women to have experienced violence within the last year, and two and a half times more likely to lack protection and access to crucial services after experiencing violence. The Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence regularly holds roundtable discussions – in July, the taskforce co-chairs held a roundtable to discuss military sexual trauma.

The Task Force was joined today by:

-Mary Kathryn Nagle, Attorney and Partner at Pipestem Law

-Karoniehawi (Hawi) Thomas, Detective Sergeant at Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Police Department

-Elizabeth “Liz” Carr, Senior Native Affairs Advisor, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center

-Patricia Alexander, co-chair, Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s Violence Against Women Task Force

“The high murder and violence rates experienced by Native women is a national tragedy, and we must work to find solutions to reverse these heartbreaking trends,” said Rep. Kuster. “It’s crucial that we find ways to improve coordination between law enforcement and our criminal justice system to better track these crimes. The House has passed a strong reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which will expand the jurisdiction of both tribal courts and law enforcement to handle non-Native offenders – who are responsible for the vast majority of violence against Native people. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this legislation signed into law. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from today’s panelists and I will continue to seek solutions to support survivors and prevent violence.”

“Having been a prosecutor for 25 years, I know how important it is to have safe communities and am proud to work alongside Representative Kuster and our fellow Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence to address crimes of sexual violence on tribal lands,” said Rep. Joyce. “Today’s hearing helped shine a light on what Congress’ next steps should be in order to address the persistently high rates of violence experienced by Native women and I thank all our panelists for providing us with their insight on this serious threat.”

“I was pleased to participate in a bipartisan roundtable discussion today on missing and murdered native women and sexual violence on tribal lands,” said Rep. Katko. “As a Representative of Native Americans in New York’s 24th District, I believe we must work alongside tribal law enforcement and community organizations to prevent gender-based violence on tribal lands. In Congress, I remain committed to addressing this issue and will work to advance policies that increase resources for tribal communities and improve cooperation between law enforcement agencies and tribal law enforcement.”