Dollar General Corporation aims to strip tribes of right to protect Native survivors

On Monday, oral arguments will begin in Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a case at the intersection of issues of tribal sovereignty, sexual violence, and corporate greed at its ugliest.

As Indian Country Today Media Network reports, the case began as a civil suit filed within the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indian’s court system by the family of a young Native boy who was sexually assaulted while working at Dollar General by the store’s manager. Although both tribal and U.S. federal courts have agreed the tribe has jurisdiction to hear the case, Dollar General has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dollar General’s position is as radical as it is heartless. As Ned Blackhawk wrote last week at The New York Times, Dollar General’s arguments,

…conflict with decades of settled precedent that recognize the ability of tribes to protect their citizens from noncriminal harms within their territories. Specifically, the corporation now argues that no tribe can protect its citizens in such civil cases, unless it is expressly authorized to do so by Congress…. Dollar General stands poised to become one of the century’s fiercest challengers to tribal communities. This case has the potential to jeopardize tribal governments’ ability to develop their economies, to make binding contracts, even to protect their citizens.

Today, survivor advocacy organizations took to Twitter in support of the victim and tribal sovereignty. On Monday, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, and the Indian Law Resource Center will rally outside the Court, demanding justice for Native survivors. You can join the Thunderclap here.

Header image credit: Native News Online

New Haven, CT

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and the co-founder of Know Your IX, the national youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools. She's testified before Congress on Title IX policy and legislative reform, and her writing has appeared in a number of outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. She's also a student at Yale Law School, and you can find her on Twitter at @danabolger.

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and a student at Yale Law School.

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