Wyden, Merkley: More than $1.6 million to Oregon Tribes to address sexual violence

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.”

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.”