The passage of the Violence Against Women Act gives tribes badly needed tools to combat the epidemic of violence and abuse in Indian Country that has been enabled by inadequate judicial and legal authority. Like all legislation, the bill is not perfect. It covers a broad range of issues and overreaches in some respects. When it comes to tribal issues, however, the legislation gets it right. The tribal provisions achieve long overdue reforms that will increase safety and justice on tribal lands and their surrounding communities – a great development for our state and its 39 Indian tribes.
With implementation of the Violence Against Women Act, tribal authorities will finally have the same ability to police and protect their land that all other local jurisdictions already enjoy.
Tom Cole is Oklahoma 4th District U.S. congressman.