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Published On: Fri, Mar 1st, 2013

Navajo President Ben Shelly Praises House Passage of Domestic Violence Bill

By: Jared King
Bill affirms tribal sovereignty

WASHINGTON—Navajo Nation President Shelly praised the House for passing the broad bipartisan Senate version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, by a vote of 286-138, with the tribal provisions intact. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

“Today is a historic day and I commend the House of Representatives for taking a stand to protect all women from crimes of domestic violence. Women should not have to live in fear of violent acts of crime. This bill gives tribal nations the tools to protect Native women. We thank those who advocated vigorously on this important piece of legislation,” President Shelly said.

The bill reauthorizes the Act for the next five years.

Voting in favor of the Senate version of VAWA included the following from the Navajo Nation congressional delegation: Reps. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., Michelle Grisham Lujan, D-N.M., Steve Pearce, R-N.M., and Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., Voting against the bill was Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

The bill keeps language intact that provides added protections to Native American women from domestic violence crimes on tribal lands, and would allow tribes to prosecute non-Indians in some circumstances where they commit acts of domestic violence against Indians or violate domestic violence related protection orders.

“The Navajo Nation, like any government, should have the right to protect its people. I am encouraged by the bold leadership of our congressional Representatives today in protecting our sovereign rights,” President Shelly added.

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Navajo President Ben Shelly Praises House Passage of Domestic Violence Bill