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Sarah Deer

2011 Allied Professional Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Sarah Deer | Allied Professional Award
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Sarah Deer is a Citizen of the Mvskoke (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma who has dedicated herself to ending violence against Native women. Professor Deer’s contributions and efforts to address the crime of sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women cannot be overstated. 

Her vast knowledge about jurisdictional issues and about issues related to addressing the epidemic levels of sexual violence against Native women 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 women and ultimately led to the 2010 enactment of the Tribal Law and Order Act. Following its release, Professor Deer served as media and Congressional spokesperson for the report and was invited to testify before a House Subcommittee Hearing on Indian Affairs. 

Professor Deer has written extensively on the issue of violence against Native women, including five law review articles, three textbooks (including the award-winning Sharing Our Stories of Survival: Native Women Surviving Violence), three op-ed articles in the national weekly newspaper Indian Country Today, and numerous resource guidebooks. She has presented at more than 50 national conferences and events since 1999, served as emcee and presenter at 4 Indian Nations conferences, and traveled to train and speak to more than 25 tribal nations in more than 15 states. 

While Professor Deer’s primary discipline is law, she has served Native women victims of violent crime in her role as rape crisis advocate, assistant director of a rape crisis center, and manager of an Office on Violence Against Women program. 

Professor Deer was nominated by Jerry Gardner, Executive Director, Tribal Law and Policy Institute.