By Lauren Tousignant. Abigail Echo-Hawk, the director of the Urban Indian Health Institute, discovered the documents stashed in a drawer when she began her job in Of women surveyed, 94 percent reported being raped or coerced into having sex and 69 percent reported being harassed on the street. Eighty-six percent also reported historical trauma, which refers to the idea that suffering through oppression and colonization passes down through generations. Additionally, 53 percent were homeless at the time of the survey — which can significantly increase the chance of suffering sexual violence or assault. The survey is considered one of the first reports to look at the experience of Native American women living in cities instead of on reservations. Read Next. This story has been shared , times. Learn More. View author archive email the author follow on twitter Get author RSS feed.
In the National Congress of American Indians found that an estimated 40 percent of women who are victims of sex trafficking identify as American Indian, Alaska Native, or First Nations. Phoenix, Arizona — which has a large Native community — has also been identified as a major jurisdiction for trafficking for sexual exploitation by the US Department of Justice. Accordingly to Valaura Imus-Nahsonhoya, a Hopi expert on human trafficking in Indian country, targeting of Native women occurs for several reasons. The Navajo-Hopi Observer reports:. Why seek Natives? Sex traffickers prey upon young girls and women they perceive as vulnerable. The high rates of poverty and hardship in tribal communities; historical trauma and culture loss; homelessness and runaway youth; high rates of involvement with child welfare systems, including entry into the foster care system; exposure to violence in the home or community; drug and alcohol abuse; and low levels of law enforcement all add up to a community rich in targets for traffickers. Imus-Nahsonhoya says that she learned most of what she knows about trafficking from survivors of this degrading and often dangerous life. But she never saw a dime of that. For Valaura Imus-Nahsonhoya, one key to preventing sex trafficking in the Native community is for tribal leaders to pass new laws.
The debate over marriage in American society and the fears expressed by some conservatives that allowing diversity will somehow destroy the institution of marriage is ever evolving. While there appears to be some who feel that there is only one kind of marriage, in reality there are many options regarding marriage. Traditional Native American marriage is one of the unique types that is interesting to explore. First, however, a caution: at the beginning of the European invasion there were several hundred separate and distinct Indian cultures, each with their own view of marriage. This article discusses Indian marriage in very broad terms and we realize that there are many exceptions to some of the generalizations. In American society, part of the discussion about marriage is really about sex. While sex was a part of traditional Native American marriage, marriage was not about sex. Prior to marriage, young people were expected to engage in sexual activities. Sex was not confined to marriage. The Europeans, and particularly the missionaries, had a great deal of difficulty in understanding that women had power in Indian society and that they had the right to sexual freedom.
Asetoyer is well aware that Native American women are 2. She speaks with survivors of sexual assault in her community every day. The book is available to download free online or to order in print. Each letter of the alphabet starts a conversation about rape trauma and where to go for help. The book was written in easy to understand language so as to make it accessible to everyone, including children.
Maya Torralba of the Kiowa, Comanche and Wichita tribes says she could have used a book like this when she was a girl. At the age of 14, she was roofied and raped by an acquaintance. He was never arrested and she never received counseling. She is now an advocate for young women in Anadarko, Oklahoma. It was really traumatic, of course. To make it known, so that when this happens to younger native women, they know that they can talk to somebody.
A report by Amnesty International in found that native victims of sexual violence get caught in a complex jurisdictional maze between tribal, state and federal authorities.
The answers to these questions are often not self-evident and there can be significant delays while police, lawyers and courts establish who has jurisdiction over a particular crime. The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in empowered tribes for the first time to investigate and criminally prosecute non-natives in cases of domestic abuse. However, tribes still have no jurisdiction over non-natives who are perpetrators of sexual violence. At a congressional briefing last month on the impact of VAWA in Indian country, tribal leaders spoke out on this issue.
Kingfisher says the response was overwhelming. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Indigenous peoples. Reuse this content. Most popular.