President of Quinault Nation to attend VAWA signing ceremony

Reported by

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fawn Sharp, the president of the Quinault Nation of Washington, will attend the signing of S.47, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, on Thursday. Sharp was invited to join President Barack Obama for the ceremony. “I wouldn’t be anywhere else,” she said.

The bill includes landmark provisions that recognize tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit domestic violence offenses. “The very moment that President Obama signs that bill will be one that should be memorialized in history as a turning point in Indian/non-Indian relations in this country,” Sharp said.

American Indian and Alaska Native women suffer from the highest rates of violence, according to government statistics. Most of the perpetrators are non-Indian.

“Our tribal police will be able to arrest, and our tribal courts will be [able] to legally prosecute those who have literally gotten away with murder and rape for years,” Sharp said.

“This is a time to celebrate a hard-earned victory. We are so grateful for those who have helped make this happen—the tribal leaders as well as the congressional leaders and, of course, the President. He stood up for this, strongly and consistently, and I am honored to be able to join him at the signing,” Sharp concluded.

The ceremony is due to take place at the main Interior Department building on Thursday afternoon.