TITLE: Support for the Reauthorization of the Family Violence Prevention Services Act Inclusive of Increased FVPSA Funding, an Increased Tribal Set-Aside, Inclusion of Tribal Domestic Violence Coalitions, and Development of a Native Hotline/Helpline
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, American Indian and Alaska Native peoples have a belief that honors the multifaceted role of women within tribal societies and have historically protected the right of women to life free of violence or the threat of violence; and
WHEREAS, as a result of colonization and decades of federal law and policy, the honored status, respect, and safety of Native women has tragically diminished, as is evident in the fact that American Indian and Alaska Native women suffer some of the highest, multiple forms of violence and murder in the entire United States; and
WHEREAS, American Indian and Alaska Native women are two-and-a-half times more likely to be assaulted than any other population of women in the United States, one in three will be raped in her lifetime, six in ten will be physically assaulted, and on some reservations, the murder rate for Native women is ten times the national average; and
WHEREAS, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) – enacted in 1984 as Title III of the Child Abuse Amendment, reauthorized and amended in 2010 -- continues to be the federal government’s only funding source dedicated to supporting life-saving services provided by domestic violence programs/shelters; and
WHEREAS, while some FVPSA funding stream set-asides are for Tribes, most are allocated to state governments, some US territories, and state and US territorial domestic violence coalitions, and FVPSA excludes Tribal Domestic Violence Coalitions entirely; and
WHEREAS, increased support to Indian Tribes and Tribal Domestic Violence Coalitions to focus on public awareness and prevention of family violence, services for domestic violence victims and their children, and training and resources for tribally-based programs and agencies addressing these issues will go far in restoring safety and honor to American Indian and Alaska Native women; and
WHEREAS, while the rate of violent victimization of Native women is more than double that of other women in the United States, of the total contacts received by the National Domestic Violence Hotline in 2013 and from January to September 2014, only one percent (1%) identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, which is proportionately lower with the high level of victimization Native women suffer, and which may be due, in part, to lack of beneficial experiences seeking help from a non-Native institution; and
WHEREAS, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women has recognized the gap between the desperate need and available services to American Indian and Alaska Native women and their children.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI does hereby resolve to support reauthorization of FVPSA and increased FVPSA funding under the Health Services appropriations bill; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NCAI does hereby resolve to support amendments to increase the tribal set–aside in FVPSA; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NCAI does hereby resolve to support amendments to the FVPSA to include Tribal Domestic Violence Coalitions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NCAI does hereby resolve to support a Native Hotline/Helpline developed and run by Native advocates to provide information and culturally appropriate support and assistance to Native adult and youth victims of family violence, domestic violence, or dating 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 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.