Sarah Deer
Published September 20, 2014
Updated April 22, 2021

Sarah Deer is a University Distinguished Professor of women, gender and sexuality studies and in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Kansas. She was a MacArthur Fellow in 2014.

Deer’s research focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims’ rights, using indigenous feminist principles as a framework. She is an expert on tribal law and violence against Native women. Her first book is The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America (2015).

Deer specializes in victim rights and advocacy, and authored an Amnesty International report titled “Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA.” For years, she advocated for reform to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Renewed in 2013, VAWA now allows tribes to press charges against non-tribe members who inflict violence against Native women while on tribal land.

Deer is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Expertise: Tribal law, domestic assault and sexual violence, victim rights, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Indigenous women, criminal law, feminist jurisprudence, the Mvskoke language

Location: Lawrence, Kan.


Featured on PRI’s The World: How Borders Affect Native American Women’s Rights


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