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Injustice in Indian Country

Jurisdiction, American Law, and Sexual Violence Against Native Women

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Amy L. Casselman

Living at the intersection of multiple identities in the United States can be dangerous. This is especially true for Native women who live on the more than 56 million acres that comprise America’s Indian Country – the legal term for American Indian reservations and other land held in trust for Native people.
Today, due to a complicated system of criminal jurisdiction, non-Native Americans can commit crimes against American Indians in much of Indian Country with virtual impunity. This has created what some call a modern day «hunting ground» in which Native women are specifically targeted by non-Native men for sexual violence.
In this urgent and timely book, author Amy L. Casselman exposes the shameful truth of how the American government has systematically divested Native nations of the basic right to protect the people in their own communities. A problem over 200 years in the making, Casselman highlights race and gender in federal law to challenge the argument that violence against Native women in Indian country is simply collateral damage from a complex but necessary legal structure. Instead, she demonstrates that what’s happening in Indian country is part of a violent colonial legacy – one that has always relied on legal and sexual violence to disempower Native communities as a whole.
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Chapter Six: The Ghost of Kȟaŋǧí Šúŋka and the Enduring Myth of Savage Justice: The 2013 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

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  CHAPTER SIX

The Ghost of Kȟaŋǧí Šúŋka and the Enduring Myth of Savage Justice: The 2013 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

Unfortunately, certain Republicans are singing the old song of unsophisticated tribal courts and uneducated tribal judges to stop the bill from going forward […] I say, if you don’t trust the ability of tribal courts to be fair and just, don’t go to the reservation and rape women—but that’s just my take.

—INDIAN AFFAIRS ATTORNEY RYAN DREVESKRACHT1

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