WASHINGTON D.C., DC — On Wednesday, March 16, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. attended a ceremony at the White House where President Biden signed legislation that reauthorizes and expands the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
“While this reauthorization is long overdue, it does strengthen federal laws protecting our Native mothers, sisters and daughters from domestic violence. This law also ensures that these laws are enforced on our tribal lands and that the perpetrators who commit these heinous acts, both Native and non-Native, be duly punished,” Chief Hoskin said. “The Cherokee Nation has long championed for the reauthorization of VAWA and has prioritized protecting Cherokee women and children on our reservation."
The VAWA reauthorization allows the Cherokee Nation District Court to continue exercising tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Natives who commit dating violence, domestic violence and violations of civil protection orders on the reservation. This includes expanding additional VAWA resources, helping with federal grants and increasing the prosecution of non-Indians who harm Cherokee citizens and tribal justice personnel.
VAWA reauthorization will also allow Cherokee Nation Marshals to access national crime databases to help solve more crimes on tribal lands.
This expansion to the criminal justice system will aid in Chief Hoskin's continued work on upgrading the tribe’s ONE FIRE Victim Services Program, which provides victim services and domestic violence prevention services to Cherokee Nation citizens throughout the reservation. The ONE FIRE program resources include law enforcement protection, civil legal assistance, housing, job placement, educational assistance, health care and counseling.
The Cherokee Nation has built a new ONE FIRE victim services headquarters in Tahlequah and a new transitional housing center in Stilwell to help Cherokee women and children who have suffered from the hands of domestic violence.
“We must all commit to advancing full protection and safety of our Native women and children in Indian Country from years of prey and violence,” Chief Hoskin added. “I’m encouraged that federal leaders from the White House to Capitol Hill also recognize the importance of this critical mission.”
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