by Laura Sullivan
On Sunday, NPR ran a follow-up segment about Laura Sullivan’s award-winning series on the “prevalence of rape on tribal lands and the difficulty in prosecuting sexual assault cases.”  Recently, the federal government announced it plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to improve medical clinics, buy more rape kits and bolster the police response to what authorities say is an epidemic of rapes on Indian land.”

The February stimulus bill injected $500 million into Indian Health Services, the agency that handles most medical needs for Native Americans, while the appropriations bill that passed in March is also adding funds. The March bill increases the budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs by $85 million to provide additional law enforcement on reservations.
Meanwhile, Congress is attempting to strengthen the authority of tribal police with a new bill that would grant Native American tribes greater police powers.
Advocates say it would be a sea change for tribes, which are largely dependent on the federal government when it comes to law enforcement on their lands.

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