Navigating VAWA's New Tribal Court Jurisdictional Provision


President Obama signed into law the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a federal statute that addresses domestic violence and other crimes against women. As initially conceived in 1994, VAWA created new federal crimes and sanctions to fill in gaps, provided training for federal, state and local law enforcement and courts to address such crimes, and funded a wide array of community services aimed to protect and support victims. In a historic move, this new version of VAWA recognizes and affirms that tribal courts have jurisdiction over criminal cases brought by tribes against non-members–including non-Indians–that arise under VAWA. This is the first time since the Supreme Court’s 1978 decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978), that Congress has recognized and affirmed tribal courts’ criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians...

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King, Winter and Sara Clark. "Navigating VAWA's New Tribal Court Jurisdictional Provision." Indian Country Today Media Network. March 31, 2013. Article. (, accessed April 1, 2013)