Oglala Sioux Pass First Tribal Hate Crimes Law

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By   The Oglala Sioux Tribe just became the first to pass a hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The law is modeled on federal hate crimes law and calls for the tribal government to collect data about hate crimes. It also allows hate crimes to be punished with one year of jail or a fine. Monique Mousseau and Felipa DeLeon are a married couple and they worked to get the new ordinance passed. They said that they met with representatives from eight of the nine reservation districts to lobby for the ordinance and they were able to build a base of support.

“Although authorities haven’t been keeping data, we know that many suicides on the reservation are related to gay-bashing and shaming,” Mousseau said. She said that she lost her job with the tribal police department in 2005 when she refused to end her relationship with DeLeon. She went home and found the word “faggot” written on her house.

“I tried to file a report with the police and they just laughed,” she recalled. She also said that she and her wife experienced gay-bashing on the reservation first hand, so much that they moved away in 2009.

Richard Hack is an award-winning author and journalist; and an outspoken advocate for equality in business and government, as well as neutrality in news media.

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