Andrea Smith



Decolonizing Anti-Rape Law and Strategizing Accountability in Native American Communities

The intersections of gender violence and colonialism in Native women’s lives force Native antiviolence advocates to recognize numerous contradictions. Native women rape survivors are rendered legally rapeable due to the inability of tribal governments and refusal of federal prosecutors to take legal action against those that assault Native women. This article explores how community-based accountability strategies can be leveraged through increased engagement of tribal governments. Navigating the tension of developing tribal infrastructure to formally respond to sexual violence as a means of actualizing community-based interventions that do not rely on incarceration, this article suggests that the short-term goal of supporting tribal efforts on behalf of the immediate needs of survivors can serve the long-term goal of prison abolition.

Native American women, indigenous, sexual violence, tribal government, community accountability, legal advocacy, sovereignty

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 37, No. 4 (2010-11): 36-43.


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