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Stay up-to-date with the latest news relating to sexual assault and abuse of American Indian

and Alaska Native people.

Below you will find featured news relating to sexual assault and abuse in tribal communities. If you want to submit an article on sexual assault and abuse, please share it with us at: You can also click here for a submission form.

June 6, 2024

The Supreme Court sided with Native American tribes Thursday in a dispute with the federal government over the cost of health care when tribes run programs in their own communities.

COLT and NIWRC Stand with L.B. at the Ninth Circuit

May 31, 2024

The Coalition of Large Tribes, an intertribal organization representing the interests of the more than 50 tribes with reservations of 100,000 acres or more, is proud to stand with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center in support of L.B., a Northern Cheyenne woman raped by an on-duty Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officer seeking federal government accountability. The case is L.B. v. United States, No. 23-35568.

A Native woman launched a forensics nonprofit to address missing and murdered Indigenous people after her relative went missing and was never found

January 17, 2024

Haley Omeasoo became a forensic anthropologist to help the families of missing and murdered Indigenous people. She saw the problem firsthand growing up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. She hopes to open a dedicated lab tribes in Montana can use to investigate MMIP cases. 

Hundreds come together in Minneapolis for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives March

February 14, 2023

Hundreds of people marched through the streets in south Minneapolis Tuesday, all raising awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous girls, boys, LBGQI+, two-spirit and transgender people. The event was put on by several organizations, including the Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition and the Little Earth Residents Association.

NIWRC and Tribal Nations Press Release: The Montana Supreme Court’s decision in L.B. v. United States 

August 17, 2022

“L.B.’s victory in the Montana Supreme Court is a victory for Native women all across Montana,” states Lucy Simpson, Executive Director of the NIWRC, a non-profit headquartered in Lame Deer, Montana. “In Montana, our Native women, children, men, and two-spirit relatives are murdered and go missing at some of the highest rates in the United States. But when the price for calling the BIA for help is being raped or having your children removed from your home, victims simply will not pick up the phone to call for help. The Montana Supreme Court’s decision will assist victims in holding the BIA accountable for the actions of its law enforcement officers, and that will help address the crisis of violence we currently face here in Montana.”

Implementation of VAWA 2022’s Tribal Jurisdiction Reimbursement Program

June 2022

OVW is pleased to announce that registration is open and the framing paper has been released for the Government-to-Government Consultation: OVW Tribal Jurisdiction Reimbursement Program. The Consultation will be conducted virtually July 27-28, 2022 from 1:00p.m. - 5:00p.m. EST. 

Amnesty International: The Never-Ending Maze: Continued Failure to Protect Indigenous Women from Sexual Violence in the USA

May 17, 2022

More than half of all American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime; one in three have experienced rape. Since Amnesty International first reported on this issue in 2007, rates of violence against Indigenous women have not significantly changed, and the US government continues to fail to adequately prevent and respond to such violence. Access the site which lists some of the factors that contribute the high rates of sexual violence against Indigenous women, and the barriers to justice that they continue to face.

New Department of Justice Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Webpage

April 26, 2022

The DOJ recently launched the Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) webpage as part of the Department’s Tribal Justice and Safety website, which houses other Tribal initiatives at DOJ such as the Tribal Access Program, grant opportunities, Consultations, and several other resources for Tribes. 

Executive Order on Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People

November 15, 2021

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Monday during the Tribal Nations Summit instructing federal departments and agencies to coordinate with tribal governments on a trauma-informed, victim-centered approach to address violence against Native Americans.

Operation Lady Justice Releases Missing Person Resource Baskets

November 10, 2021

Operation Lady Justice (OLJ) recently unveiled a new design of the education and resources section of the OLJ website. The site now contains Resource Baskets specifically targeted to various audiences to enable more effective access to the resources. The Baskets include specific resources for Victims/Families, Law Enforcement, Service Providers, and Tribal Communities.

Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence, Reproductive Coercion, and Reproductive Health Among American Indian and Alaska Native Women: A Narrative Interview Study

November 5, 2021

Access narrative interviews conducted with AI/AN women from four tribal reservation communities. The interviews explored connections among sexual and reproductive health, IPV, SV, reproductive coercion (RC), and pregnancy experiences as well as women's experiences of healing and recovery.

How States Are Addressing Violence Against Indigenous Women

November 1, 2021

From Wyoming to Wisconsin, states are taking steps to address the crisis of murdered and missing Native American women. Will they make a difference?

Leveraging Funding Opportunities with TAD

November 1, 2021

Interested in OVW Funding Opportunities for Tribes and tribal communities? The Tribal Affairs Division (TAD) is here to help! Starting November 9th, TAD will be releasing a series of short videos on "Leveraging Funding Opportunities with TAD" with easy steps on how to strategize your project, develop your proposal and submit it. 

A Proclamation on National Native American Heritage Month, 2021

October 29, 2021

President Joe Biden has issued a proclamation naming November 2021 as National Native American Heritage Month. "During National Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate the countless contributions of Native peoples past and present, honor the influence they have had on the advancement of our Nation, and recommit ourselves to upholding trust and treaty responsibilities, strengthening Tribal sovereignty, and advancing Tribal self-determination."

Human Trafficking Data Collection Activities, 2021

October 28, 2021

This report describes BJS’s activities during 2020 and 2021 to collect data and report on human trafficking as required by the Combat Human Trafficking Act of 2015 (34 U.S.C. § 20709(e)).

National speaker to offer tools for better understanding Native American traumas

October 6, 2021

Boarding schools, hurtful symbols and sexual violence can have cumulative impact on well-being. National speaker Elena Giacci has two goals in mind for her upcoming training about historical and current trauma: education and healing.

Navajo Advocates Take Community Approach to Sexual Violence

July 25, 2021

Agents from the FBI office in Salt Lake City traveled to southern San Juan County to award Utah Navajo Health System (UNHS) for its victim advocacy program, which Crotty and others hope will become a model program for supporting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence across the Navajo Nation.

H.R. 1652 (S. 611) VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (VOCA Fix Act) heads to the President

July 22, 2021

On Tuesday, in a rare bi-partisan support  of 100-0, the Senate approved S. 611 the “VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crimes Fund Act of 2021.” Since the original act’s inception in 1984, Tribes were left out of direct access to these funds.

Native American women face an epidemic of violence. A legal loophole prevents prosecutions.

June 30, 2021

Limits on tribal prosecutions have worsened the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, experts say. Congress is weighing a fix.

Eleven Defendants Charged with Murder in Indian Country

May 14, 2021

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Oklahoma has returned separate indictments charging 11 defendants with murder and other various violent crimes arising out of Indian Country.

The Cherokee Nation to Produce Its Own PPE

May 13, 2021

The tribe went from chasing scarce supplies of personal protective equipment to opening two state-of-the-art production facilities that will meet its needs and export to the rest of the country.

National Week of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

April 29 - May 5, 2021 

The National Indigenous Women's Resource Center and National Partners Work Group on MMIWG are organizing a full National Week of Action (April 29 - May 5) to call the nation and the world to action in honor of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

DOJ Journal - Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons: Legal, Prosecution, Advocacy, & Healthcare

April 6, 2021

The second issue of the DOJ Journal focused on Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons was released. The articles in this issue will be helpful to AUSAs litigating cases and to tribes working to develop a criminal justice and social services response to MMIP.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 1, 2021

Each April, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource CenterStrongHearts Native Helpline, and Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) by raising awareness of sexual assault and standing in support of survivors of sexual violence. 

Completion of Tribal Community Response Plan to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Announced

April 1, 2021

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of the Flathead Indian Reservation and the FBI today announced the completion of the nation’s first Tribal Community Response Plan (TCRP) as part of a pilot project to address cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons.

A Bethel woman reported she was raped. After months of delays in the case, she publicly protested inaction by police and prosecutors.

March 26, 2021

On March 4, a Bethel woman protested outside the Bethel courthouse. She said she was raped and wanted to draw attention to what she claimed was the criminal justice system’s slow response in investigating her case.

Grants to Indian Tribal Governments Pre-Application Information Session

March 25, 2021

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) is pleased to invite you to virtually attend the Grants to Indian Tribal Governments (Tribal Governments Program) Pre-Application Information Session on April 5, 2021.

Apply Now: American Indian & Alaska Native Student Travel Scholarships

March 24, 2021

NIJ will support up to 15 American Indian and Alaska Native students in attending criminal justice-related conferences. Students will explore how their educational backgrounds apply to issues of crime and justice. Applications dues by May 10, 2021.

Notah Begay Foundation Grants

March 18, 2021

Notah Begay III Foundation Community Empowerment Grants to Native American communities for community-led, culturally-rooted programs that promote physical activity, healthy nutrition, youth development, and cultural connections. 

Geographic coverage: Nationwide Application  |  Deadline: April 12, 2021 

Native Americans Use Technology to Keep Traditions, Language Alive During Pandemic

February 9, 2021

Social media helps Native Americans preserve cultural traditions during pandemic. Native Americans are adapting to the pandemic with online events and educational videos to share their culture.

‘The laws fail to keep people safe’: Most sexual assault cases in Nome never go to trial

February 8, 2021

Western Alaska has the highest sexual assault rate in the state, and those are just the cases that are actually reported to authorities. Even when everything in a sexual assault case is reported instantly and an investigation is done right away, statistics show most cases will not go to court. Cases can take years to go to trial, if they ever make it.

TDVAM: Lifting Up Voices of Native Youth and Teens for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February 1, 2021

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). Across Indian Country, this is an important opportunity to listen to and talk with youth and teens about healthy relationships and dating violence. 

Without justice, Nome women seek path forward after sexual assault

February 1, 2021

Over a 10-year period ending in 2018 in Nome, there were 432 reports of sexual assault. Of those, Nome Police made 45 arrests, and so far there have been even fewer convictions.

Biden Reaffirms Tribal Sovereignty

January 27, 2021

As part of his racial and equality initiative, President Joe Biden on Monday signed a Presidential Memorandum that reaffirms tribal sovereignty through tribal consultation.

What Tribes Need to Know About the Changed Legal Landscape in 2021

January 11, 2021

A review of some of the new State and Federal laws and regulations that will impact tribal communities.  

Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act Signed into Law

October 10, 2020

On October 10, 2020, two bills were signed into law to help address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in the United States.  The bills, which were presented to the President on September 30, 2020, follow years of advocacy by indigenous women, tribes, and Native organizations calling for firm action to combat this human rights issue.

OVW 15th Annual Tribal Consultation October 2020


A status update on Tribal Consultation recommendations.

Health Disparities Leave Native Americans More Vulnerable To COVID-19

August 4, 2020

Wisconsin Tribes Seek To Prevent Potentially 'Devastating' Spread Of Coronavirus. Tribal communities in Wisconsin haven’t seen a spike in COVID-19 cases like some in other parts of the country, such as the Navajo nation, which has seen some of the highest infection and death rates in the country.

AK DPS Publishes Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Interim Report

July 28, 2020

The SAKI project, funded through a federal grant, launched in January of 2017. The DPS and its partner agencies created a multidisciplinary working group to manage the project and to come up with recommendations to improve outcomes for survivors and the process for sexual assault investigations.

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