Jeana Petillo

Document Type



The pervasiveness of domestic violence against Native American women in Indian country is alarming. Pursuant to the doctrine of trust responsibility, the federal government has recently responded to the epidemic of domestic violence in Indian country by passing three pieces of legislation—18 U.S.C. § 117, the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. This Note discusses the shortcomings of these pieces of legislation and proposes two courses of action by which the federal government may improve its response to domestic violence in Indian country. First, this Note suggests that the federal government research and promote domestic violence response programs that have been effective among the general population. Second, the federal government should acknowledge and address the many infrastructural problems that prevent Native American victims from having meaningful access to domestic violence resources. If implemented, these recommendations will likely provide the federal government and tribal governments with the practical tools necessary to decrease domestic violence in Indian country. Ultimately, the purpose of this Note is to raise awareness about Native American women who have suffered and continue to suffer from domestic violence and to inspire discussions about the best possible solutions.