Jessica Allison


One in three American Indian women will be raped in her lifetime. This rampant assault is only exacerbated by the fact that tribes have not been able to prosecute non- Indians for any crime, including rape, since the 1970s. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 took a small step toward filling this jurisdictional hole by creating provisions under which tribes can prosecute certain non- Indian defendants for a limited set of sexual violence crimes. However, VAWA is not enough to protect Indian women from the astronomical rates of violence they experience. This Comment explores mechanisms used by tribes to protect their communities from sexual violence that are more compatible with notions of tribal traditions and inherent sovereignty than the mechanisms required under VAWA. These mechanisms better balance the realities of a postcolonial world with the unique social and cultural needs of each tribe and indigenous victim of sexual violence. This Comment both celebrates what tribes have already done to eradicate sexual violence in their communities and discusses options other tribes have at their disposal to do the same.