Hearing on Crime in Indian Country Affecting Women

Here’s another interest – and notwithstanding his hair style – Sen Bryan Dorgan (D-ND) is now chairing the Senate Subcommittee on Indian Affairs oversight hearing “looking at the Federal government’s failure to prosecute crimes in Indian Country.” It’s currently on webcast, available at the Subcommitte’s website (in the heading to the far right – ‘Webcast’).  The second panel is now convening as I type.

From Pretty Bird Woman House:

Amnesty International, which last year issued the report Maze of Injustice: the failure to protect Indigenous Women from Sexual Violence in the USA [see link on right side of this page], is submitting written testimony about the issue(attached). Renata Rendon, Americas Advocacy Director for Amnesty International USA, will attend the hearing and can be reached for interviews or more information at 202/544-0200 or 646/269-1152.

The second panel includes the following:

MR. THOMAS B. HEFFELFINGER – Partner, Best and Flanagan, LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota

MR. M. BRENT LEONHARD – Deputy Attorney General. Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Pendleton, Oregon

MS JANELLE DOUGHTY – Director, Department of Justice and Regulatory, Southern Ute Indian Tribe. Ignacio, Colorado

THE HONORABLE THOMAS W. WEISSMULLER – Board Member and Tribal Representative of the National Criminal Justice Association and Chief Justice of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation”, Mashantucket, Connecticut

Dorgan “introduced bipartisan legislation, called the Tribal Law and Order Act, to fight staggering crime levels in Indian Country”

“We are seeing crime levels on some Indian reservations reach epidemic proportions. Studies predict that more than one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes, and two in five will be victims of physical abuse. Drug traffickers are targeting Indian Reservations as safe havens because of the lack of police presence and the disjointed system of justice that is in place,” said Dorgan, who has held five hearings on this issue.

Of course this is overshadowed by this committe hearing on the Interior Dept. Secretary Dirk Kempthorne testifies about recent allegations of misconduct in his Dept. involving oil and gas royalty collections. Currently Dirk is getting raked over the coals by Sen. George MillerMiller is head of the House Education and Labor Committee, and House Natural Resources Committee.

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