FCNL Native American Legislative Update

Several days ago I wrote about the passage of Savanna’s Act and Not Invisible Act. Both bills now go to the White House for the president’s signature.

Savanna’s Act (S.227) will establish better law enforcement practices by requiring federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to develop protocols for cases of missing or murdered Native Americans. The bill also provides training and technical assistance for implementing these new guidelines, and authorizes the Department of Justice to provide grants for compiling and annually reporting data related to missing and murdered Native Americans.

The Not Invisible Act (S. 982) requires the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to create a joint advisory committee on violence against American Indians and Alaska Natives. The committee, which will be made up of law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, will make recommendations to the DOI and DOJ to combat crime against Native Americans.

The passage of these bills in both chambers is an especially sweet victory for FCNL and tribal advocates. FCNL first began working on a similar version of Savanna’s Act when it was introduced in October 2017 in the 115th Congress by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND).

Native American Legislative Update, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FNL), SEPTEMBER 2020


This is a good example of the process, including the length of time, needed to pass legislation. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is the Quaker organization that works with Congress to support legislation that is consistent with Quaker values.


Since 1943, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has carried on this witness of the Spirit through action on Capitol Hill. Governed by members of the Religious Society of Friends, FCNL acts in faith to create a world free from war, a society with equity and justice for all, a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled and an earth restored.

https://www.fcnl.org/about/policy/the-world-we-seek


I’ve written about the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, where a small group of Native and non native people walked and camped along the path of the Dakota Access pipeline for eight days, covering 94 miles.

That was during the first week of September, 2018. One of the goals was for us to get to know each other so we could work on actions of mutual interest and concern. One of the first such efforts shortly after the March was when those of us in this photo met with Senator Grassley’s staff in their Des Moines office.

During that meeting, I talked about the Friends Committee on National Legislation and the SURVIVE Act. Christine Nobiss spoke about the racism and violence against Native women and Savanna’s Act. Everyone then contributed to the discussions.

Jeff Kisling, Fox and Shazi Knight, Christine Nobiss, Shari Hrdina and Sid Barfoot

Yesterday I was able to attend an FCNL Zoom meeting with about 80 others, where we heard more about the passage of Savanna’s Act and updates from FCNL’s lead lobbyist for Native American policy, Kerri Colfer (Tlingit). Afterward, I received the following email from FCNL. There are links to view the recording of yesterday’s half hour meeting.

Thanks for joining our Thursdays with Friends conversation. I hope you appreciated hearing from Kerri Colfer (Tlingit), FCNL’s lead lobbyist for Native American policy, as much as I did. It was wonderful to celebrate passage of Savanna’s Act (H. R. 2733) and the Not Invisible Act of 2019 (H.R.2438) together. And I was encouraged by the opportunities we may have to advance the Violence Against Women Act with tribal provisions in the next Congress. 

Resources:

It was a joy to be with you through technology. Knowing that you are with us during this challenging time is really gratifying.


Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Indigenous Peoples’ Day Webinar

On October 14 at 1:00 p.m. EDT, FCNL will be organizing and moderating a webinar with the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence on legislative solutions to the crisis of violence in Indian Country. The webinar is part of a four-part series on how racism and misogyny impact survivors’ ability to seek safety and justice.

Our panel will feature speakers from the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, the National Congress of American Indians, and the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center. Register here.

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