The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls was May 5th. Advocates say much more could be done to help Native American women who face violence.
“I think at the core of this is racism. Looking at Indigenous communities as ‘less than’ — as disposable.”
Leanne Guy, Director, Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition
The Centers for Disease Control reports Native American women are murdered at a rate three times higher than white women. Native women also are disproportionately likely to face sexual assault, human trafficking and other forms of violence.
Leanne Guy, executive director with the Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition (swiwc.org), says the problem is centuries old.
“I think at the core of this is racism,” says Guy. “Looking at Indigenous communities as ‘less than,’ as disposable, our women and girls being rapeable, if you will, beatable, takeable.”
Guy says rules of jurisdiction on tribal lands also make crimes against Native women often more difficult to prosecute.
Guy says many Native American tribes do offer domestic-violence resources to women, but says most programs need far more government support.
“Right now, our tribes get little funding to provide any kind of services for the violence that is happening within our communities, to strategize, to build services, to help address these things,” says Guy.
Arizona is home to more than 300,000 people who identify as Native American, and more than 20 federally recognized tribes.
by Katherine Davis-Young
Public News Service – AZ