Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joe Bryan

Second Advisor

Najeeb Jan

Third Advisor

Penelope Kelsey

Fourth Advisor

Katie Oliviero


This thesis evaluates the jurisdictional extension included within the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013, which grants tribal courts criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of certain domestic violence crimes. This thesis begins by examining the structural and historical conditions that expose women to racialized and gendered violence. After developing an understanding of the spatio-legal production of vulnerability, this research evaluates the prospects for responding to violence against Native women through VAWA's jurisdictional fix. In recognizing the jurisdictional extension as a liberal fix, the VAWA provision is understood as a moralistic, normative legal response by the state that seeks to respond to the crisis (of gender-violence) without significantly re-ordering the underlying structuration of Indian Country that is responsible for producing such violence in the first place. This research suggests that the jurisdictional fix provided by VAWA is a limited solution to the problem of gender-based violence in Indian Country.