William Mitchell Professor Sarah Deer has been recognized by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for outstanding work on behalf of crime victims.
Deer received the Allied Professional Award Friday, April 8 at an event hosted by the Department of Justice. The award recognizes Deer’s dedication to addressing and ending the crime of sexual violence against Native American women.
According to a Department of Justice announcement of the award, Deer’s vast knowledge about issues related to addressing the epidemic levels of sexual violence against Native American women and jurisdiction issues was vital in the development of a series of comprehensive recommendations in Amnesty International’s 2007 report Maze of Injustice. This report drew congressional attention to sexual violence against Native American women and contributed to the 2010 enactment of the Tribal Law and Order Act.
Deer is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She focuses her legal work on violent crime on Indian reservations, and she has co-authored two textbooks on tribal law and several academic articles on Native American women. Her advocacy work began when she served as a rape crisis volunteer while earning her B.A. in Women’s Studies and Philosophy from the University of Kansas. She later attended law school so she could address the unique legal issues facing Native rape survivors, and received her J.D. with a Tribal Lawyer Certificate from University of Kansas School of Law.
She was one of seven individuals recognized at the Attorney General’s Annual Victims’ Service Awards event.
“Each of the leaders, legal advocates, public servants and concerned citizens here today are part of a powerful, national movement—one that inspired the passage of the historic 1984 Victims of Crime Act that created the Crime Victims Fund, as well as the 1994 crime bill and the Violence Against Women Act,” said Attorney General Holder. “We commend these individuals and service providers who, when faced with emerging challenges, seek out new ways to protect our communities, and to more effectively assist and empower crime victims.”