Responding to a New York Times investigative report that found the rate of sexual assault of Native women is more than twice the national average, with even greater disparities in rural Alaskan villages, Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.) today called on the Republican leadership of the Natural Resources Committee to hold a hearing on this important matter.
Rep. Markey, who is the Ranking Member of the committee, and Rep. Boren, who is the Ranking Member of the Indian Affairs Subcommittee, sent the request in a letter to Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and subcommittee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska).
"We are extremely concerned that accountability for violent crimes in Indian Country may be decreasing as Native women continue to be victims of sexual assault at alarming rates," write Reps. Markey and Boren. "We cannot stand idle in the face of this distressing news and call on your leadership to bring this issue to the national spotlight by convening oversight hearings in the near term."
The New York Times article reported on the high levels of rape and other sexual assaults, and a high proportion of criminals classified as sexual offenders. The report found, for example, that the Tohono O'odham Nation's reservation in Arizona, where about 15,000 people live, has 184 high-level sexual crime offenders, according to the Justice Department, while a city like Minneapolis, with a population of 383,000, has 101.