Background of the SURVIVE Act

One of the goals of the First Nation-Climate Unity March that occurred during the first week of September was to make it possible for a group of Native and non-native people to get to know each other so we can work together on issues of common interest.

We will be meeting in Senator Grassley’s Des Moines office Tuesday, November 20, 2018, at 11:00 am. to talk about the SURVIVE Act. The office address is 210 Walnut St Rm 721, Des Moines, IA 50309. You are welcome to attend. Christine Nobiss, who was on the March, and is founder of Indigenous Iowa, will be leading the discussion.

Below are some resources to help prepare for this meeting.

Use this link to send a letter to your members of Congress, asking them to support the SURVIVE Act.


Washington, DC (July 30, 2018) – The Quaker lobby, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) called on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (H.R. 6545). Led by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), the bill seeks to expand protections to women victims of violence.

Contact: Adlai Amor, Friends Committee on National Legislation, media@fcnl.org; 202-903-2536

“The Violence Against Women Act is particularly significant to Native women and girls across the nation,” said Diane Randall, Executive Secretary for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “We welcome this initiative and urge the House to swiftly reauthorize H.R. 6545.”

Native women experience violent crimes at disproportionately higher rates than other women in the United States. While the federal government has jurisdiction in Indian Country, it lacks the resources to effectively prosecute crimes. Non-Native offenders regularly avoid prosecution for sexual assault and domestic violence.

With over 100 cosponsors among House Democrats, the bill will improve tribal access to federal crime information and standardize protocols for responding to cases of missing and murdered Native peoples. The current bill expires on Sept. 30, 2018.

The bill also extends tribal jurisdiction to include sexual violence, sex trafficking, stalking, child violence and violence against tribal law enforcement attempting to execute these provisions.

“If passed, the bill will be a huge win for Indian country, as more than half of American Indian and Alaska Native women experience sexual violence in their lifetime,” said Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco (Shinnecock/Kiowa), FCNL’s Advocate for Native American Policy. “Safety from violent crimes should not be a privilege but for too long, many Native women have gone unprotected by the law.”

In addition to advocating for the Violence Against Women Act, FCNL has also been a strong advocate for a bill to address the crisis of missing and murdered Native women. If passed, Savanna’s Act (S.1942/H.R.4485) will create a standard protocol for law enforcement and expands tribal access to criminal databases.

FCNL has also been a strong advocate for the SURVIVE Act (S.1870/H.R.4443) which authorizes a permanent five percent tribal set-aside in the Crime Victims Fund.


October 15, 2018

Dear Mr. Kisling:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me to express your support for a tribal set-aside within the Crime Victims Fund. As your senator, it is important that I hear from you.

I was an original cosponsor of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which established the Crime Victims Fund. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’ve also called on congressional appropriations leaders to provide an appropriate funding stream for Tribes under VOCA.  As stated in a letter I initiated to the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year, “individuals on Tribal lands experience high rates of domestic and sexual violence, and resources from the Crime Victims Fund are critical in addressing” these victims’ needs.  This letter was cosigned by several dozen of my Senate colleagues.

In June, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill for the coming fiscal year, S. 3072, that would make significant resources available for tribes, including a 5 percent set-aside within the Crime Victims Fund.  This legislation further directs the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) at the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) to “consult closely with tribal stakeholders to improve services for tribal victims of crime to include expanded purpose areas described in the OVC final rule effective August 8, 2016.”   

If enacted, the fiscal year 2019 spending bill that Senate appropriations leaders approved also would make $91 million in competitive grant funds available for tribes as follows:  $50 million within DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs to help tribes improve the capacity of their criminal and civil justice systems; $7 million for a tribal youth program within DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; $27 million for tribal resources and $3 million for a Tribal Access Program within the COPS Office at DOJ; and $4 million for a special domestic criminal jurisdiction program within DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women.

I hope you find this information helpful. Your involvement in this issue is important, and I encourage you to keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Chuck Grassley
United States Senate  

FCNL Survive Act fact sheet

According to federal data, American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities face some of the highest victimization rates in the country. Unfortunately, less than 0.7% of the Crime Victim’s Fund (CVF) established by the Victims of Crime Act reaches Indian tribes. This important funding provides victim services including crisis intervention, emergency shelter, medical costs, and counseling.

Currently, VOCA does not incorporate tribal governments for victim assistance and victim compensation formula grant programs. If we want to tackle the unacceptable disparities facing these communities, we need to make sure victims have equitable access to the critical resources VOCA funds support.

That is why I have introduced the bipartisan Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act. This bill would create a tribal grant program within the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime and require a 5% allocation from the CVF be provided to Indian tribes. It would expand the use of CVF funds for domestic violence shelters, medical care, counseling, legal assistance and services, and child and elder abuse programs to enable tribes to deliver critical services to their communities.  

Tom O’Halleran, Member of Congress


“Since 1976, FCNL’s Native American advocacy program has worked to restore and improve U.S. relations with Native nations so that our country honors the promises made in hundreds of treaties with these groups. FCNL provides information to Congressional offices and to national faith groups about the continuing struggles of Native people and advocates in support the resilient and inventive solutions proposed by tribal governments and Native American organizations.

This work takes us into all of the issue areas encountered by any government: land and borders; environment, energy, and natural resources; economic development; care for the safety and well-being of tribal citizens; and investment in the future through health and education.” Witnessing in Solidarity with the First Americans


Jeff, Fox, Shazi, Christine, Shari and Sid

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