Where #MeToo meets #MMIW

The national conversation should include murdered and missing Indigenous women.

 

Indian Country News is a weekly note from NewTowncarShare News, as we continue to broaden our coverage of tribal affairs across the West.

Among the surging crowds of this year’s Women’s March last weekend, Indigenous women banded together by identifying themselves with regalia or red scarves. As they joined hundreds of thousands of women across the nation represented by President Donald Trump and other national leaders, these Indigenous women were also protesting deeper injustices in Indian Country, especially thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

This year’s Women’s March followed a wave of allegations of sexual misconduct by powerful men helped by the #MeToo movement, a social media-driven show of solidarity between people affected by sexual harassment and assault. And while the cultural shift in how we discuss sexually predatory men has changed for the better (and was long overdue), they feel the movement is often not inclusive or . For Native communities this means calling even more attention to the number of , or #MMIW. The exact number of women is unknown, and a lack of widespread attention to the issue remains, further illustrating Indigenous marginalization.

A member of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women’s contingent leads the Seattle Women’s March 2.0 in Seattle this January.

“If this was a white woman’s issue, if there were white women murdered and missing on this level, this would be a national issue. Something would be done about it,” Eve Reyes-Aguirre, a Izkaloteka Mexica woman running for Senate in Arizona, told me recently. She was one of the many Indigenous women who marched in Arizona last weekend, and bringing her peoples’ issues to the forefront was a catalyst for her campaign.

The fetishization of Indigenous women is . The plundering of their bodies was part of this nation’s birth. It is one of many legacies that . As we discussed in this analysis, the sexualization of Native women comes at a high price. Today, more than 80 percent of Native women experience violence in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. More than one in three Native women are raped in their lifetime, more than twice the national average.

The problem pervades , as well as Mexico, where being an advocate . “This is not just an issue here,” Reyes-Aguirre said. “This is a global issue among Indigenous women.”

Reyes-Aguirre also noted the problem persists for . The rates of violent victimization for both males and females are higher for Native Americans than for all races, according to the federal government. Native men are the most likely to be killed by police. One third of Native Americans reported recently they , even when they need help. This sexualization and violence culminates in missing and murdered Indigenous women. Thankfully, there are being formed to specifically address the issue, even as generations of institutionalized violence goes unaddressed by our elected leaders.

Just as the #MeToo movement is demanding we hold those in positions of power accountable, the #MMIW movement demands accountability from the authorities tasked with keeping Native communities safe. Combining these issues — in public discussions, mass protests, or deeper reform efforts — won’t dilute any message that demands more respect and acknowledgment of our nation’s least visible and most vulnerable.

Graham Lee Brewer is a contributing editor at NewTowncarShare News and a member of the Cherokee Nation.

NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • NON-PROFIT MANAGEMENT Become a powerful force in nature. Join The Nature Conservancy and make a tangible and lasting impact in creating a world where both...
  • Join the publisher, editors, writers and staff of NewTowncarShare for the annual Holiday Open House. Refreshments, food, door prizes and merriment. Thursday, December 6,...
  • 5 acres, views, utilities to lot line includes paid water tap, great for passive solar design, covenants and NO HOA. Listed by Beckie at Keller...
  • The Native American Fish and Wildlife Society (NAFWS) is seeking qualified applicants to fill a vacant Executive Director position in Denver, CO. The position serves...
  • The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 25-year legacy of success using the power of the...
  • 383 Acres with trails, private road, trees, stream and fabulous views. Earth Sheltered, passive solar home provides 2785 sf of comfort and a "top of...
  • certified, 51 acres, small cottage, outbuildings, equipment and tools. Contact: [email protected]
  • 2bd/2bath green home on 2 acres on the Ojo Caliente River, NM. MLS #101605. Contact [email protected]
  • of mountains, 22+ acres. Close to Arroyo Seco and the Taos Ski Valley, NM. MLS #102585, [email protected]
  • 2br-2ba, acreage. Birders, writers. 1000.
  • 1400 sf of habitable space in a custom-designed eco-home created and completed by a published L.A. architect in 1997-99. Nestled within its own 80-acre mountain...
  • The Wilderness Society is currently recruiting for a Communications Manager for our Northwest Region. This position can be located in Seattle or Oakland. For more...
  • 1912 Orchard House completely rebuilt 2002. 4000 sq ft home and private guest cottage on .53 acres. Reclaimed maple and Doug Fir. Two garages. CathyMooney.com,...
  • with home on one acre in Pocatello, ID. For information and photos visit www.blackrockforgeproperty.com.
  • Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) seeks a new Executive Director to guide this dynamic national advocacy, watchdog, and service organization. The successful candidate requires...
  • Sierra Club is looking for a community organizer who can help us protect grizzly bears and other wildlife species in the Northern Rockies region. This...
  • Join HCN and Black Sheep Adventures on an expedition through the national parks and monuments of Utah and Southwest Colorado, September 7 - 15, 2019....
  • Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is hiring a full-time Restoration Program Coordinator based in Escalante, Utah. gsenm.org
  • 7.58 Acres in Delta County for $198,000. and a contiguous 25 acre parcel of land zoned agricultural is available in Montrose county for an additional...
  • in Moab, UT start in Spring. Naturalist, River Guides, Camp Cooks, Internships available. Details at cfimoab.org/employment.