Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics and Politics

Reader 1

J. Emil Morhardt

Reader 2

Rita Roberts

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Rosemary O. McClure


Domestic violence and sexual assault rates are higher on Indian reservations than anywhere else in the country. This text works toward an understanding of sexual violence as a legacy of colonialism. Rather than being rooted in inherent racial or cultural differences, current rates of sexual violence on Indian reservations are a continuation of a historical pattern in which colonizers used rape as a weapon to control, contain, and conquer the Indians. The unique history of racist and sexist oppression inflicted on Native Americans through the institutionalized denial of kinship, culture, sovereignty, and body autonomy has exacerbated the violence while frustrating the healing process. This paper describes how the boarding schools, Indian child removal, PL 280, the Oliphant decision, cultural appropriation, and the sexualized stereotyping of Indian women led to high rates of sexual violence on Indian reservations. It then explores how the Tulalip Tribes of Washington State have been proactive in fighting to end sexual assault and violence on their reservation, through retrocession, a holistic approach to batterer reform, and victim advocacy, while simultaneously lobbying in support of legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act, which would allow the Tribes to acquire criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians.


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This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.