OKLAHOMA--- Although the Violence Against Women Act passed many years ago, it was recently reauthorized. One provision was allowing Indian tribes to prosecute non-Natives in the Native Tribal Courts. For many years, federal legislatures believed this would cause an issue because they felt defendants of domestic violence couldn't get a fair trial within Indian lands. For tribes, it was a sovereignty issue and the right to protect their people.
"It's a wonderful protection for our people, so I think we're going to see that probably a lot more in 2015 when all tribes will have that opportunity to move forward," said Dawn Stover, Executive Director Native Alliance Against Violence.
Although President Obama signed the revision last year in March, the new guidelines for all tribes will not go into effect until March of next year. However, the law allowed some tribes to investigate and prosecute certain crimes against women earlier under a pilot project.
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