Sending Office: Honorable Darrell E. Issa
With the support of the National Congress of American Indians, current signers include:
Issa, Slaughter, Bass, Blumenauer, Cárdenas, Cook, Grijalva, Harper, Higgins, Holmes Norton, Jayapal, Walter Jones,
Kildee, Kind, Luján, Lujan Grisham, Moore, O’Halleran, Payne, Quigley, Rokita, Ruiz, Shea-Porter, Sinema, Titus, Torres, Walz, Frederica Wilson, Don Young
For years, we have been working to help give Native American tribes parity and direct access to federal funds in order to better provide resources to victims of sexual abuse and physical violence, and to hold offenders accountable. We are asking
you to join us in signing and submitting a simple language request in the FY2019 CJS Appropriations to designate federally-recognized Native American tribes as direct recipients of the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), and to fully support efforts
to implement tribal special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction.
See text of appropriations letter below. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Chelsea Schull (Rep. Issa) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Wendy Clerinx (Rep. Slaughter) at email@example.com. Letter will close
TODAY at 12:00 PM noon.
Darrell Issa Louise M. Slaughter
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano:
As you prepare the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, we respectfully request your help to address the long-standing funding disparity which leaves American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) victims of crime and
violence without equal access to the assistance received by other state and local governments. Specifically, we request the CJS appropriations bill to designate federally-recognized Indian tribes as direct recipients of the annual distributions from the Crime
Victims Fund (CVF), and to fully support efforts to implement tribal special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction (SDVCJ).
According to a December 2017 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, the AIAN population, including both men and women, have the second highest rate of violent victimization at thirty-seven percent. However, AIAN women experience the highest crime victimization
rates in the country. Over fifty-five percent of AIAN women have experience physical violence or sexual violence in their lifetime, compared to thirty-seven percent of the entire female population in the United States. Furthermore, forty-eight percent of AIAN
women have reported “contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner,” compared to forty-five percent of black women, thirty-seven percent of white women, thirty-four percent of Hispanic women, and eighteen percent of Asian
or Pacific Islander women.
Since FY2015, Congress has increased the CVF cap; the CVF does not include tax dollars, but rather it is a federal repository for state victim assistance programs. But over the years, state and territorial governments have provided an average of only half
of a percent of the available CVF funds to tribes via sub-grants. This has left many Indian tribes with very limited resources to meet the needs of victims and to hold offenders accountable. As sovereign authorities, and as a population experiencing physical
violence and sexual violence at a distinctively higher rate than the national average, federally-recognized tribes must become direct recipients of the CVF in consultation with the DOJ. We must fix this disparity.
In addition, even with their limited resources, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA) allows tribes to exercise SDVCJ and prosecute both American Indians and non-Indians who assault AIAN spouses, intimate partners, or dating partners
while in Indian country. We respectfully request you to also consider fully funding VAWA at its authorized amount to strengthen tribal criminal justice systems, provide defense counsel, develop appropriate jury pools, and assist victims of crime and violence.
For several years, many of us have been making this same language request in the CJS Appropriations. Protecting all of our constituents from violence and providing the appropriate resources to local authorities is of great importance to us. We urge your
committee to include language in the Appropriations bill to allow federally-recognized tribes to receive direct distributions of the annual funds from the CVF, and to fully efforts to implement SDVCJ. Thank you for your continued leadership and consideration
of this critical request.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0