On December 7, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the ‘Dollar General vs Mississippi Band of Choctaw’ Case. In this case, the Dollar General Corporation has asked the Supreme Court to strip Indian Tribes of all civil jurisdiction over non-Indians.
As apart or our VAWA Sovereignty Initiative, the NIWRC, in collaboration with the Monument Quilt Project, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture (“FORCE”), National Congress of American Indians, the Indian Law Resource Center and other tribal grassroots movements around the country, demanded justice for Native women and children and the inherent right of their Tribal Governments to protect them. Hundreds of people walked in front of the United States Supreme Court Building to send the message of “No to Dollar General” and “Tribal Jurisdiction Equals Justice and Safety.” Hundreds more joined the campaign by hosting local events and through social media.
WATCH the video below to see participation from grass roots organizations at working with NIWRC in the Nation’s Capitol last January:
“Regardless of what the Supreme Court does today, this movement will go on. We will retain and reclaim sovereignty of Native nations.” Melissa Pope, Chief Judge, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi.
The amicus brief filed by NIWRC and joined by 105 organizations that share its commitment to end violence against Native women presents the legal argument for why tribal jurisdiction is essential to the safety of Native women. The social justice actions across the nations represented the national voice and moral conscience for the justice system to do the right thing.
“Our tribal governments pre-date the United States Constitution. We are not inferior. Our tribal governments have been here for thousands of years and know how to protect our people and others who come onto our land to live with us,” said Mary Kathryn Nagle, Co-author of the NIWRC amicus brief and staff attorney at Pipestem Law Firm. “To say that we do not have jurisdiction over other people who come onto our tribal lands—people who are raping and assaulting and killing us—because we are inferior is just wrong.”
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