Bill enables tribal police to enforce federal laws, protects Native American rape victims
4 San Diego legislators support law; Rep. Hunter votes “no”
By Miriam Raftery
July 30, 2010 (Washington D.C.) - “If the Tribal Law and Order Act had existed 16 years ago, my story would be very different,” Lisa Marie Lyotte said, choking back tears in a White House press conference today. In 1994, Lyotte was raped and beaten on the Sioux Indian reservation where she lived; her children witnessed the attack. Tribal police had a suspect, but federal authorities refused to prosecute.
Native American women suffer violent crime at a rate more than triple the national average; one in three Indian women is raped during her lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Calling the situation “an assault on our national conscience,” President Barack Obama today fulfilled a campaign promise made to tribal leaders by signing the Tribal Law and Order Act into law.