Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Indian Arts and Crafts Amendment Act of 2010

The Tribal Law and Order Act is bi-partisan legislation that was introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD). The Act passed the Senate on June 23, 2010, as part of H.R. 725, The Indian Arts and Crafts Amendment Act of 2010. The Tribal Law and Order Act addresses disturbing rates of sexual violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and the failure to protect indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA. Amnesty International drew national attention to in its 2007 report, Maze of Injustice: The Failure to Protect Indigenous Women from Sexual Violence in the USA.

Here in Lawrence we are privileged to have many Native Americans and the Haskell University. So Lawrence Kansas is a melting pot for Native Americans from every tribe in the USA and benefits from the infusion of Native American culture and art. Indian arts and crafts provide important cultural and economic benefits to our community and to the wider public. We are looking forward to the Haskell Indian Art Market on Sep 11-12, 2010 featuring Native American artists and also artist demonstrations. National legislation regarding the civil rights and human rights of Native Americans is important to not only Kansas Native American tribes but also to all Native Americans attending the Haskell University here.

On June 30th, the Senate passed the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendment Act of 2010. This legislation has been passed by both chambers of Congress and has been signed by the President. It will become law once administrative actions are complete. The Senate bill was S. 151 was sponsored by John McCain (R-AZ). The House bill HR 725 was sponsored by Representative Ed Pastor (D-AZ). HR 725 included the majority of the provisions in the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009 which tackles the complex jurisdictional maze that allows violent crime against Indigenous women, and in particular, sexual assault and violence against Native American and Alaska Native women, to go unpunished and unabated.

On Jan 19, 2010, this bill passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote. On April 19, 2010 Medical Whistleblower highlighted the problem of violence against Native American women and the need for proper law enforcement investigation and enforcement in Medical Whistleblower’s Universal Periodic Review Report to the United Nations and spoke directly with President Obama to urge him and the US Congress to take action on this bill and other bills in front of Congress that protected human rights. With the actions of many other human rights advocates and great support from the public, the US Congress took decisive action on Jun 23, 2010 and S.151 passed in the Senate with changes by Unanimous Consent. In regards to HR 725 Representative Dennis Moore (D-KS) and Representative Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) both took a supportive role and voted for concurring with the Senate on H.R. 725 House Vote #455 (Jul 21, 2010).

Plains and immigrant tribes in Kansas include Cherokee, Chippewa, Delaware (Lenape), Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, Kaw Nation, Kanza, Kickapoo, Miami OK, New York Seneca Nation, Osage, Otoe, Ottawa, Pawnee, Peoria, Potawatomi Citizen, Potawatomi Prairie Band Nation, Quapaw, Sac and Fox, Shawnee, Wea, Wyandot, and Huron.

Medical Whistleblower wishes to thank the US Congressmen/women who helped pass this historic legislation and recognized the human rights importance of providing proper law enforcement investigation, protection and prosecution to crimes that occur to Native American people.

Official Summary of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009

10/29/2009--Reported to Senate amended.

Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009 - States as the purposes of this Act to: (1) clarify the responsibilities of federal, state, tribal, and local governments with respect to crimes committed in trial communities; (2) increase coordination and communication among federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies; (3) empower tribal governments to provide public safety in tribal communities; (4) reduce violent crime in tribal communities and combat sexual and domestic violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women; (5) prevent drug trafficking and reduce rates of alcohol and drug addiction in Indian country; and (6) increase and standardize the collection of criminal data and the sharing of criminal history information among federal, state, and tribal officials.

Official Summary of the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments Act of 2010

1/19/2010--Passed House amended. Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments Act of 2010 - Amends the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 to expand the authority of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board to bring criminal and civil actions for offenses under such Act involving the sale of misrepresented Indian-produced goods or products. Authorizes:
(1) any federal law enforcement officer to conduct an investigation of an alleged violation of this Act occurring within the jurisdiction of the United States; and
(2) the Board to refer an alleged violation to any such officer (currently, only to the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI]) for investigation. Permits such an officer to investigate an alleged violation regardless of whether such officer receives such a referral from the Board. Requires the findings of any investigation of an alleged violation to be submitted to a federal or state prosecuting authority or the Board. Authorizes the Board, upon receiving the findings of such an investigation, to:

(1) recommend to the Attorney General that criminal proceedings be initiated (current law);
(2) provide such support to the Attorney General relating to the criminal proceedings as the Attorney General determines to be appropriate; or
(3) recommend, in lieu of or in addition to any such criminal proceeding, that the Attorney General initiate a civil action. Allows the Attorney General, an Indian tribe, an Indian, or an Indian arts and crafts organization to initiate a civil action under this Act. Amends the federal criminal code to revise penalties for the sale of misrepresented Indian-produced goods and products.

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