Wyden, Merkley: More than $1.6 Million to Oregon Tribes to Address Sexual Violence

Washington, D.C.
– U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that three Oregon
tribal organizations will receive a combined more than $1.6 million from
the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to continue to provide victim
and intervention services after sexual violence on tribal land.

“Addressing the
atrocity of sexual violence on tribal land couldn’t be more urgent,” Wyden
said. “I am gratified to see tribal
governments getting more resources to build even stronger services to victims
of sexual violence, especially reaffirming tribal criminal jurisdiction over
non-Indian perpetrators. Native Americans are experiencing sexual assault at twice the rate of any other racial group. More needs to be
done at every level to prevent such violence, and I will not stop fighting so
that victims can get the support and protection they deserve as they heal and
seek accountability for their attackers.”

“Tribal communities?in
Oregon are facing?disproportionate rates of sexual violence. We must do
everything in our power to protect people from sexual assault and abuse, and
provide crucial resources to support these efforts,” Merkley said.?“This funding to the Columbia River
Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and
the Klamath Tribes will help provide Tribal governments with the tools they
need to respond to sexual assault and abuse cases, and ensure perpetrators are
held accountable.”

The OVW grants provide funding and resources for tribal
governments to respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault,
sex trafficking, and stalking in their communities. These grant funds will be
allocated as follows:

  1. The
    Klamath Tribes: $447,256 for criminal justice system programs ensure that
    victims find safety and justice and that non-Indians who commit sex crimes
    on tribal lands are held accountable.
  2. Columbia
    River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission: $650,617 for culturally competent
    victim services to prevent, address and adjudicate sexual violence.
  3. The
    Confederated Tribes of the Siletz: $525,000 to create, maintain, and expand
    sustainable Tribal sexual assault services.

“We are very
appreciative of the grant funds,” Siletz Tribal Chair Delores Pigsley
said. “VAWA has been underfunded since
its inception. The tribe will be more proactive in our assistance for our
members. Thank you Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley for recognizing the needs
of the tribes.”

“Native people who
live and fish along the Columbia River face many social challenges, a situation
that is unfortunately common throughout Indian Country,” said Columbia River
Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Executive Director Aja DeCoteau. “This funding will allow us to continue
providing victims of sexual violence with essential supportive services and
culturally-informed prevention programs that help support stronger, healthier,
and safer communities. We appreciate Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley for
their work to secure funding for this important and much-needed program.”