Native American women seek protections from abuse

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Diane Millich says her ex-husband was never arrested for any of the more than 100 times he slapped, kicked or punched her, not until he tried to shoot her at work.

She is Native American. He is not and all the violence took place on her Southern Ute Indian reservation in Colorado. A 1978 Supreme Court decision prohibits tribal officials from prosecuting non-Indians without permission from Congress.

Often, federal and state officials lack resources to deal with the cases. Millich and others say when misdemeanor cases are not prosecuted the violence escalates.

The Senate has given tribes the authority in the Violence Against Women Act, but the House version has no such provision. The bill has become entangled in an election-year dispute over which party better protects women.