The National Congress of American Indians
TITLE: Support for a dedicated Tribal Set-Aside in the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the Crime Victims Fund, administered by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) within DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), was initially established to address the need for victim services programs, and to assist tribal, state, and local governments in providing appropriate services to their communities; and
WHEREAS, Congress passed the Victims of Crimes Act thirty years ago and did not include Indian tribes in the original distribution of funds; and
WHEREAS, the Fund is financed by collections of fines, penalty assessments, and bond forfeitures from defendants convicted of Federal crimes, but until now, tribes have only been eligible to receive a very small portion of the discretionary funding from the Fund; and
WHEREAS, in FY 2000, Congress began limiting the amount of Fund deposits that could be obligated each year. This was to provide a stable level of funding available for these programs in future years despite annual fluctuations in Fund deposits; and
WHEREAS, in $2.8 billion and as a result the Fund now holds balances in excess of $10 billion enough under the current spending cap to last 12 years; and
WHEREAS, OVC and OJP officials have recognized the great need to strengthen victims services on tribal lands and, thus, are proposing this new set-aside to help meet that need; and
WHEREAS, the new tribal funding is requested as part of OVC’s Vision 21 Initiative, a strategic planning initiative based on an 18-month national assessment by OJP that systematically engaged the crime victim advocacy field and other stakeholder groups in assessing current and emerging challenges and opportunities facing the field; and
WHEREAS, Indian nations and tribal service providers require essential resources to respond to violence perpetrated against American Indian and Alaska Native women, as well as to provide services to women victims seeking assistance.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI does hereby support the increase in the amount of money released from the Crime Victim’s Fund to include a dedicated funding stream for Indian tribes to meet the dire needs of tribal victims; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NCAI does hereby support the creation of an “above the cap” reserve in the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), or alternatively, a 10% VOCA tribal set-aside, that would fund tribes and tribal government programs and non-profit, non-governmental tribal organizations, located within the jurisdictional boundaries of an Indian reservation, Alaska Native Villages, and Indian areas that provide services to Native women victimized by domestic and/or sexual violence; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Mid-Year Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center, June 8-11, 2014 in Anchorage, Alaska, with a quorum present.