Every state with a notable Indigenous population has the same recurring factor: Native women are murdered at a rate at ten times the national average in the United States.
It is approximated that more than around 5,700 Native women are labeled missing or murdered. This excludes any unreported cases and information- and due to lack of media coverage, these cases often go unknown. According to the National Institute of Justice, 67% of cases between the years 2006-2010 showed U.S attorneys failing or declining to prosecute Native matters dealing with sexual abuse. Why are Native cases being neglected?
Some of these cases not being brought to justice stem from colonization and the border of congressional acts and tribal law. The Oliphant v. The Suquamish Indian Tribe case of 1978 allowed for a law to be passed by a 6-2 vote: Indian tribal courts are not permitted the authority to prosecute Non-Natives. The Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) states that 96% of victims reported that their perpetrators were non-Native men. That is 9 out of 10 victims in every case. In other words:we are failing our stolen sisters.
The lack of media coverage for these women and girls is astonishing. The UIHI released a press report from a study in November of 2018 showing that 506 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls went uncovered or unreported by the mainstream media. This includes counts of; murder, missing persons cases, sexual abuse, domestic violence, trafficking, or police brutality. Most of these cases went unnoticed by the media, usually only the ones dealing with murder cases were reported.
That is a staggering number of women,girls, and families who did not receive proper attention or justice. This is especially important, due to the sex trafficking crisis many states are facing.
How to Help?
How can we help raise awareness as Non-Native allies? The most important thing is to not speak over Indigenous voices. Give them a platform, amplify- but do not silence them. Educate and inform others about these stolen sisters.
You can notify your local government about this topic by emailing or calling. Supporting government efforts to separate tribal and federal law, such as the Violence Against Women Act, also bring forth charge. Take accountability for yourself and others, confront and educate when people make harmful remarks about Native womxn.
Don’t let the conversation end! Bring awareness by resharing works by Indigenous folk and donating to them directly. Make sure your activism includes everyone- prioritize intersectionality and inform! If you are financially able to, support victims. Believe their stories, don’t let the fight stop.
On May 5th, it is National Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness day. Support Native women by wearing red and using your platform.
MMIW AND INDIGENOUS ARTISTS TO SUPPORT:
Donate, contribute, spread awareness