Supporters of the Violence Against Women Act are hoping the law will be improved with provisions that could have a big impact on the Wind River Reservation. The Act provides grant money to support women who have been victims of domestic violence, including on Reservations.
U.S. Attorney for Wyoming, Kip Crofts, says it would give tribes more power to prosecute domestic violence.
“It would give the tribal court authority over non-Indian people, which is a fairly significant change in their jurisdiction,” says Crofts. “But it also requires them to provide all of the constitutional protections, such as a court appointed lawyer and so forth if they do assert that jurisdiction.”
Crofts also says the changes would give his office more power to help victims on the reservation.
“We’re doing the best we can at the present time but those provisions both for the tribal court and the changes in federal law would, in my opinion, be of great assistance to making things better for women generally, women victims on the reservation.”
Currently two versions of the amendment are circulating through the U-S House and Senate. Opponents say increased jurisdiction for tribes over non-Native people would be unconstitutional.