November 29, 2019

Native American women and girls are under attack

Dana Mathewson

Newt Gingrich tells us this. Howcum Lizzie "Cherokee" Warren isn't complaining about it?

As we come together with friends and family on Thanksgiving, we should all recognize that many in America – including those indigenous peoples with whom the Pilgrims shared the first Thanksgiving – have little to celebrate.

In addition to widespread poverty, insufficient health care and a host of other challenges, Native American communities in our country face persistent, egregious violence. In fact, Attorney General William Barr this week has done the country a badly needed service by pointing out that there is a virtual war against Native American women.

Before you think "war” is too strong a term, consider these facts.

According to The Associated Press, the Urban Indian Health Institute reported 5,712 indigenous women were murdered or went missing in 2016 alone. Of that staggering number, only 116 were listed in a U.S. Department of Justice database tracking such statistics.

Further, the National Institute of Justice estimated that 1.5 million Native American women have experienced violence in their lives – and more than half experienced sexual violence.

No American can be comfortable with a level of violence that affects more than 1 million women. It should be completely unacceptable that of the 5,712 cases of missing and murdered Native American girls, only 2 percent – one out of every 50 cases – makes it to the Justice Department database.

According to Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who is himself a tribal member, 2016 National Institute of Justice reports reveal even more grim figures – estimating that more than four out of five Native American women have experienced violence, with more than half experiencing sexual violence.

As Cole put it: "Native women are more than one-and-a-half times more likely than White women to have experienced violence in the past year. Even more chilling, Native women face murder rates more than 10 times the national average in some parts of the country.”

Dear readers, this is very disturbing! There's no reason in the world that this should be happening! With diversity being celebrated across the board, why should Native American women be suffering?

Please read the article here, and if you can find a website in your area with an initiative to help Native Americans, or any other minorities, especially as the holidays draw near, please consider doing what you can do!

Folks, we are all in this together, after all.

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