The Violence Against Women Act was expanded in 2013 to allow Native American tribes to prosecute non-Indians in cases involving domestic violence. Before that, women such as Frances Cupis were unable to press charges against violent partners in tribal court.
ON PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, ARIZ. — Tribal police chief Michael Valenzuela drove through darkened desert streets, turned into a Circle K convenience store and pointed to the spot beyond the reservation line where his officers used to take the non-Indian men who battered Indian women.
“We would literally drive them to the end of the reservation and tell them to beat it,” Valenzuela said. “And hope they didn’t come back that night. They almost always did.”