The ongoing atrocities against Native American women
By nelle douville on July 28, 2007
When will it end?
I'm one who has always been passionate about social issues that I'm made aware of. Which means a great many exist, and I roll on in all my ignorance and self emersed in my own life issues.
My outlook grew roots in grammar school, ingrained by the Catholic nuns who taught us, for they were very much into such issues. Likely not quite as far as I am, they weren't agitating for say... equal rights for women at that point. Consider the 2 and occasionally 3 priests assigned to the parish lived in a home twice the size of the home the nuns lived in, and there was probably 15 or so nuns.The priests had someone to clean and cook for them. No such luck for the nuns. Each priest had a car. The nuns had one nunmobile.
Anyway... it is from that time my attention was drawn towards those who suffer injustices and struggle to overcome them. We were kept informed of civil rights doings, particularly of the efforts of Martin Luther King. We even had information flowing early on to us about the horrors unfolding in southeast Asia. One of my eighth grade instructors was a huge RFK fan, we had lots of 1/1 chats on Bobby and his candidacy. It seems like yesterday we were talking one day about the great hope he carried, and the next about how we were once again stunned by tragic loss.
In my college readings, nothing outraged me more than Dee Brown's Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. The book haunted me for months. As a student of 20th century European history, I'd run into comments/questions/discussions on how the Holocaust could unfold - such a thing could not happen here.Yet we had our own private genocide tucked away in history. Dee's book brings it home with detail that did stayed with me. Here it is over 30 years later, and still get upset at the history.
What is particularly tough to take is... how we still harm Native Americans to this day. Someone I knew in another lifetime was visiting in Montana, and witnessed how some Native Americans were being harassed and demeaned in a bar. He started to rise and say something, but his companion, a local resident, warned him to back off if he valued his personal safety.
On 27 July, NPR carried a report that has again touched on this nasty history, and brought it straight into the present. Apparently fully one third of all Native American women have been or will be raped in their lifetime... by non-Native Americans. Excuse me?
In a two part report, Laura Sullivan of NPR delves into the issue. You can read and listen to the story here:
Rape Cases on Indian Lands Go Uninvestigated
The details, the excuses... make me crazy. It is an outrage that this goes on, that Native American women are subjected to this horror, that white guys are out there raping them with impunity. Why white guys? Well, what are the breakdowns of population stats for North Dakota? Apparently this is not exclusive to North Dakota and is happening in other parts of this country.
I'm not an expert on the subject, but we look to other places around the world, see how women are mistreated and voice our outrage, yet women here are also unsafe - we act like we've gotten past this sort of thing. Perhaps, in our little bubble. We rarely ever ponder what is faced in more rural communities, or in tribal lands.
I've looked around the internet to see what else is out there... stories from April:
From Always Whitewolf:
An interview with
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