We are beginning to organize an FCNL Advocacy team in central Iowa. We will be focusing on Native American affairs.
Our first action will be to meet with Senator Grassley’s staff at his Des Moines office on November 20th at 11:00 a.m.
After introductions and talking about the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Christine Nobiss will lead the discussion about the SURVIVE Act. More information below. You might remember Christine, who was on the panel discussing “Building Bridges with Native Americans” during Yearly Meeting in 2017. Christine is the founder of Indigenous Iowa, part of Bold Iowa, and was on the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March with Peter Clay, Jon Krieg and I.
If you could let me know if you plan to attend, I will let the Senator’s office know how many to expect. Senator Grassley’s Des Moines office is at 210 Walnut St Rm 721, Des Moines, IA 50309. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
United States Senate
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
While I’ve been writing about my adventures during the , I’ve been thinking about ways Quakers support Native Americans. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), our Quaker lobbying organization, has made advocacy for Native Americans a priority for decades.