Conservative Viewpoints

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Native American women subject to the worse America has to offer

Posted by Stephen on April 26, 2007

Rape is the most horrendous act one person can commit on another. Whether motivated by hate, fear, need for control, or any of a host of other motivations, the violence of rape is unconscionable. To make matters worse it seems that one group of American women is targeted three times more often than anyone else you know. One in three Native American women will be raped at some time in their lives.

In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in Oliphant v. the Suquamish Indian Tribe that tribal governments have no criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians. In fact, when a crime is committed tribal police and their non-Indian counterparts must hash out whether the suspect is Indian or not. Ultimately, if the suspect is found not to be Indian the case may end with no charges brought.

“It is disgraceful that such abuse exists today,” said Larry Cox, Amnesty International’s executive director. “Without immediate action, an already abysmal and outrageous situation for women could spiral even further out of control.”

While Native reservations lack funds and resources to police their territories, U.S. officials have done little to respond to the problem. With that said, Native reservations have condemned any attempt to impose federal laws on their ‘sovereign’ territories. As a result, victims find themselves lost, confused, and vulnerable as the system fails to protect them from predators.

“It is extremely frustrating,” said Jason O’Neal, chief of the Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Department in south-central Oklahoma. “It’s confusing for the victim because they don’t know who they should be calling. A victim of domestic violence may call 911, the sheriff’s office or our office.”

The Washington Post reported that an Amnesty International study was carried out in 2005 and 2006, drawing on victim interviews, questionnaires submitted to law enforcement officials such as police and prosecutors, and numerous reports. According to the report more than 86 percent of rapes against Native American women are carried out by non-native men, most of them white, according to the Justice Department.

“It’s jaw dropping,” Davis said. “We’ve been talking about this for years. I think this is an incredibly complicated problem. Most Americans can live their daily lives and never think about it.”

It is nonsense that a country with in a country exists. It is fundamental to a civilized society where people can live without fear of being raped simply because one jurisdiction is erased by a symbolic line in the sand that laws exist. If a person travels from Canada and rapes a person in the United States they are held accountable. Certainly a person that enters a reservation should be held accountable for raping another person living in the U.S.. Federal courts should need nothing more than a willing victim and evidence to support the case to proceed with a criminal investigation and conviction if guilt is decided upon.

If reservations have a problem with that, so be it. It is time for these two societies to come together and decide to do what is right versus what is of cultural and symbolic importance. No one wants to impose religion, education, or greater taxation on the Native American culture. It is simply time to work together to remove the vile existence of predators and their ability to freely roam among us all.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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