We, at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, enter the summer after a successful awareness campaign for May 5th the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Along with the #WhyWeWearRed media coalition collaborations, NIWRC provided a free webinar, special collections listing, weekly MMIW policy updates, testimony for the March 14th Subcommittee Hearing “Unmasking the Hidden Crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women: Exploring Solutions to End the Cycle of Violence”, and interviewed on Native America Calling’s May 6th show.
In this 2019 Summer edition of Advocate! Beyond the Shelter Doors e-newsletter, you will find: a warm welcome to new staff Elizabeth Carr, NIWRC’s new Senior Native Affairs Advisor; congratulations to NIWRC on receiving the 2019 Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award and our website being selected to archive on the Library of Congress digital archives; Summer Awareness Months and upcoming resources; an update from the StrongHearts Native Helpline; a guest post from Jeremy NeVilles-Sorell of the NIWRC Speaker’s Bureau; a recap of the May 5th National Day of Awareness for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls; the Sovereignty bracelet sales with partial proceeds going to NIWRC; and part 2 of the Pixel Project inspirational interview with NIWRC’s former Senior Native Affairs Advisor, Caroline LaPorte.
In the Featured Art section, we share the “Missing You” music video by Joanne Shenandoah. Grammy Award Recipient Joanne Shenandoah released her new video on May 5, 2019 as part of an international movement to draw attention to the thousands of missing and murdered Native women in the US and Canada. Shenandoah’s song “Missing You” now available on You Tube includes Loren Barrigar- guitarist, Brian Michaels-cello, and Patrick McDougal engineer. It is dedicated to Leah Shenandoah, Joanne’s daughter, also a victim of violence. The Featured Art section is where we share art forms as a means of social change, including new documentaries or films, art exhibits and positive/uplifting projects connecting to preventing and healing from domestic or family violence. Suggestions welcome.
We would like to thank each advocate, each mother, each sister, each aunt, each daughter, each grandmother, and all the men who continue to support the movement to end domestic violence and for making NIWRC the valuable organization it is today.
Lucy Rain Simpson
Executive Director, NIWRC
The NIWRC Receives the Prestigious 2019 Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award!
Oklahoma City, OK- The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) was honored to receive the 2019 Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma, at their Annual Meeting and reception, held at the Midwest City Library on Saturday, April 20th, 2019.
“The ACLU of Oklahoma is honored to present the 2018 Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award to the NIWRC in recognition of their pursuit to protect women, especially indigenous women.” Said Sarah Adams-Cornell, Choctaw, Vice President, ACLU Board of Directors. “Much like the award namesake, NIWRC’s resolute advocacy to make known and change disparities impacting indigenous people, including VAWA is a gold standard. The empowerment provided to our indigenous women through NIWRC resources and trainings can be felt throughout Indian Country.”
NIWRC Welcomes Elizabeth Carr, Senior Native Affairs Advisor!
“NIWRC is excited and welcomes Elizabeth Carr as our new Senior Native Affairs Advisor to be based in Washington.Elizabeth brings over a decade of experience and expertise in national policy and programming efforts with American Indian tribes and tribal-federal relations.”—Lucy Simpson, Executive Director, NIWRC
Elizabeth Carr most recently served as the Associate Director for Tribal Affairs in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While at USHHS she was responsible for providing expert analysis, advice, and guidance to senior and political leadership on policy, regulatory and legislative issues that have a significant and direct impact on tribal governments and tribal organizations administering HHS programs. She brings to NIWRC extensive knowledge in managing and improving federal-tribal relations and experience dedicated to the analysis, development, and implementation of federal policy related to tribal governments.
The NIWRC is engaged in on-going national strategic policy and legislative reform efforts to enhance the sovereign authority of Indian nations to protect Native women. Elizabeth Carr’s experience and expertise will significantly contribute to the national public policy and educational efforts of NIWRC. It is perfect timing for Elizbeth Carr to join NIWRC as preparations for the 2019 VAWA mandated annual consultation are underway. Ms. Carr brings to NIWRC nearly ten years of experience in the implementation of Federal Executive Order 13175 Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments and carrying out consultation responsibilities to ensure that the consultation process is meaningful and offers tribal governments the opportunity to provide timely input.
“I am excited to begin working at NIWRC during this very pivotal time. It is an honor to have the opportunity to continue working on tribal issues and one as important as protecting Native women.”—Elizabeth Carr, Senior Native Affairs Advisor, NIWRC
Elizabeth is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and lives in Washington.
NIWRC Website Selected for Inclusion in the Library of Congress
The United States Library of Congress has selected the NIWRC website for inclusion in the Library’s historic collection of Internet materials related to the Women’s and Gender Studies Web Archive. “It is a great honor to be included in this important collection and this historical record,” said Lucy Simpson, Executive Director, NIWRC. “Internet materials on issues addressing violence against Native women is limited and on specific aspects not available.”
The Library of Congress preserves important cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them. The Library’s traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collection materials of historical importance to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including websites. The Library’s web archives are important because they contribute to the historical record, capturing information that could otherwise be lost. With the growing role of the web as a powerful medium, records of historic events could be considered incomplete without materials that were “born digital” and never printed on paper.
“It is amazing the speed and quantity of information passing through NIWRC’s website, social media and communication’s systems,” said Princella RedCorn, Communication’s Officer, NIWRC. “The content is historical in nature as NIWRC continues the national reform efforts and organizing required to increase safety for Native women. It’s great to know this information and work will be preserved for future generations.”
The Library of Congress will start archiving in June and use the URL http://www.niwrc.org/ and other portions of NIWRC’s website, including public content that NIWRC’s page links to third party sites such as Facebook, YouTube, etc. The Library of Congress will engage in the collection of material from NIWRC’s website at regular intervals and may include it in future collections beyond the Women’s and Gender Studies Web Archive. The Library will make this collection available to researchers at Library facilities and by special arrangement. The Library may also make the collection available more broadly by hosting the collection on the Library’s public access website.
“We are excited the Library of Congress will preserve NIWRC’s Internet materials,” said Tang Cheam, Director of Information and Technology, NIWRC. “The Indigenous peoples, the general public, and researchers from across the world will now have access to NIWRC’s important body of written, audio, and video materials.”
Contents of the web archive won’t be available for research on the Library of Congress website until June or July of 2020. Check here for more information; https://www.loc.gov/programs/web-archiving/about-this-program/
Congratulations to Sarah Deer on being inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame!
“Sarah Deer is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, and as a lawyer and advocate, she has worked to end violence against women, with her scholarship and public policy work often focusing on indigenous women, according to a news release from the hall of fame.
She is being recognized in particular for her work that led to the passage of federal laws, including the Violence Against Women Act and the Tribal Law and Order Act, as well as her advocacy around issues of sexual assault and domestic violence in indigenous communities, according to a release from KU. Deer was previously named as a prestigious MacArthur Fellow in 2014.”
READ: Article here.
June 2019 is LGBT Pride Month, World Elder Abuse Day & Father’s Day
- EXPLORE: We R Native’s “LGBT Two Spirit” for various resources and articles aimed to Native youth. https://www.wernative.org/my-relationships/sexual-health/lgbt-two-spirit
- WATCH: “Decolonize Love” (16:57)
- EXPLORE: Library of Congress “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month” for events, resources, audio & video. https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/
- Saturday, June 15th, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The United Nations (UN) has designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). The day aims to focus global attention on the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders.
- EXPLORE: Resource Page for World Elders Awareness Day, by the United Nations, at: http://www.un.org/en/events/elderabuse/resources.shtml
- EXPLORE: Online Elder Abuse Response Took Kit, by the Seniors Rights Victoria, at: https://toolkit.seniorsrights.org.au
- Sunday June 16th is Father’s Day, Help us celebrate strong, healthy, caring, amazing fathers and promote healthy relationships on social media this Father’s Day. Send a shout out to your father using hashtag #NativeFathersDay on your Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Get creative and send your message in your tribal language or include a story that exemplifies your father or what it means to be a father.
NIWRC New Webinars Available
- WATCH: NIWRC Webinar “Fostering Resilience in Children Traumatized by Domestic Violence in Collaboration with their Non-offending Parent.” (April 23 2019) There are often lifelong and devastating consequences for children who have been traumatized by witnessing domestic violence against a parent or caregiver. Trauma can lead to challenging and misunderstood behaviors and emotions in children. These behaviors often result in damaging labeling and inappropriate or negative responses [from others?]. This webinar considers ways to recognize how trauma impacts children and offers ways to support healing and resiliency to them in collaboration with their parent. Inter-generational trauma and culturally-based approaches of Native people provide the framework for this webinar. http://www.niwrc.org/resources/fostering-resilience-children-traumatized-domestic-violence-collaboration-their-non
- WATCH: NIWRC Webinar “An Introduction to Participatory Research Methods for Domestic Violence Programs.” (May 15, 2019) This webinar with provide an Indigenous grassroots overview of participatory research methods that we can use to tell our story about the important work we are doing in our communities. The webinar will be an introductory tour that will touch upon: (a) reasons to consider doing research, (b) the types of questions that can (and cannot) be addressed by quantitative and qualitative research, (c) when research should (and should not) be undertaken, and (d) working with outside researchers. It will also pose ethical considerations and introduce the IRB process. An example of a small-scale, participatory research project with a community-based service provider will be illustrated during the webinar. There will be ample time for Q&A and a list of resource materials will be provided for participants to follow up on after the webinar. http://www.niwrc.org/resources/introduction-participatory-research-methods-domestic-violence-programs
This past December, the Pixel Project approached the StrongHearts Native Helpline and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center on doing an in-depth inspirational interview with Caroline LaPorte (Senior Native Affairs Advisor). The 10 questions were broken up into a two-part series.
The Pixel Project is a complete virtual, volunteer-led global 501(c)3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women through campaigns, initiatives, projects, and programmes at the intersection of social media, new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. We are a worldwide coalition of grassroots activists and volunteers who strongly believe that men and women must take a stand together for the right of women and girls to live a life free of gender-based violence. Our team, our allies, and our supporters use the power of the internet to mount a global effort to raise awareness about and hopefully mobilise communities around the world to get involved with ending violence against girls and women.
8. Tell us about NIWRC’s plans for the future. What campaigns, programmes, or projects do you have coming up in the next 5 years?
This work is about incremental change towards a larger goal: full restoration of inherent tribal jurisdiction. Our plans are simple: continue to prioritise tribal concerns and to elevate tribal solutions to address those concerns. As stated earlier, the federal government has what is called a “trust relationship” to tribes, a relationship based on treaties and rooted in Supreme Court precedent. This relationship is legal in nature. The federal government is to fulfill its obligation to tribes and to members of those tribes by promoting tribal sovereignty and self-determination and by providing resources in order to do so. Our advocacy will always fall in line with that framework. What we know from consultation with tribes and from listening to tribes on what they need in order to ensure safety for native women starts with jurisdiction and is rounded out with resources. It is those priorities that we will continue to push.
Currently, we are heavily focused on a meaningful reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act, on legislation and policy reform to address missing and murdered Native women, and on legislation to address the severe resource disparity that tribal communities contend with.
9. How can The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with and support the efforts of NIWRC to stop violence against Indigenous women and girls?
Most importantly for us, we need allies who understand the difference between a race-based framework (which we do not support) and a sovereign (nation-to-nation) framework. This problem always appears in many issues that Indian Country faces. American Indians and Alaska Natives are citizens of 573 different sovereign Indian Nations – members of distinct political sovereigns, not a race of people.
You can also seek to educate yourself and your communities on the history of how native people have been treated in the United States. Remember that Native voices need to be centralised and brought in from the margins. One way that you can become informed is through our policy magazine, which was created to elevate a central platform for our movement. Here is our latest issue.
READ: The the rest of part 2 Inspirational Interview here: http://bit.ly/2QzWaNZ
READ: The part 1 of the Inspirational Interview here: http://bit.ly/2VGEku5
Allies in Action
With more than 3,200 calls now reported, the StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE), an anonymous and confidential domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, is fulfilling its purpose serving as the first culturally-appropriate, national helpline for Indian country. Based on recent information gathered from randomly selected caller stories, at least 80 percent of Native American callers facing intimate partner violence (IPV) preferred to be connected with a Tribal-based or culturally-appropriate direct service provider rather than with their non-Native counterparts.
“One of the first questions that many of our callers ask is whether our advocates are Native, and when they hear that the answer is yes, it opens the floodgates,” said Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa), Assistant Director of the StrongHearts Native Helpline, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center’s collaborative project with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We hear how thankful they are not to have to explain who they are and how being Native impacts their victimization and survivorship.”
StrongHearts advocates offer callers culturally-appropriate support, crisis intervention, assistance with safety planning and a connection to Tribal resources as they navigate the difficult barriers to justice and safety. The helpline is available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST. Callers reaching out after hours can access the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) by selecting option 1. This spring, StrongHearts increased its available hours to better serve victim-survivors of IPV, concerned family members and friends, ‘helper’ programs seeking assistance for clients or patients, as well as people questioning their own abusive behavior. Advocates assist anyone who calls the helpline, which is available free of charge.
“As Native people we have the knowledge, tools, and power to make incredible change in our communities. There are many incredible projects going on from reservations, to urban, and up into the native villages that are bringing back our teachings and integrating them into the way we organize and address violence against women. It’s an exciting time to be part of a national movement where native women, men, youth, and our allies are forging new ground in activism and raising the collective consciousness on issues of violence and healing.
As a trainer, many years I long ago started saying, “You can’t teach epiphanies. You can only create opportunities for epiphanies to occur.” No matter the knowledge, inspiration, or wit of a presentation we must always create opportunities to learn and engage more community members to sustain and expand our efforts to address domestic and sexual violence, trafficking, and the missing and murdered indigenous women.”
SIGN UP: MMIW Weekly Legislative Summary Updates by the NIWRC
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center is proud to release a new educational policy resource: Weekly National Legislative Summary Updates on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). These updates address the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, NIWRC has provided an educational resource of current state and U.S. governmental legislation as weekly PDF updates. This educational resource is comprised of public knowledge of current state and U.S. governmental legislation for your viewing. The educational resource does not promote or advocate any specific legislation, nor does it provide analysis of legislative proposals. Rather, it is merely a comprehensive compilation of current state and U.S. governmental legislation under consideration within the United States that addresses the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
SIGN UP HERE: to receive a weekly national legislative summary updates on MMIW: https://bit.ly/2Hh1dzM
NIWRC’s Special Collection on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls
This Special Collection is developed to highlight the issues, concerns, recommendations and resources for addressing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) within our communities. The Special Collection organizes information, resources, tips and curricula drawn from the wealth of information gathered from partner organizations, experts from the field, and other allies from the web. More specifically, this toolkit will house resources on cultural issues, national sources, statistics, topical issues and approaches, existing programs, and available material and resources to create awareness and promote important discussions about MMIWG. This collection will expand as resources and new information become available.
NIWRC’s Webinar “Honoring Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women to Guide our Advocacy for Change”
During the period of 1979 through 1992, homicide was the third-leading cause of death of Indian females aged 15 to 34, and 75 percent were killed by family members or acquaintances. In 2005, the movement for safety of Native women resulted in the “Safety for Indian Women” being included under the Violence Against Women Act. A study released by the U.S. Department of Justice has found that in some tribal communities, American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average. Over the last decade awareness of this national issue has increased but more must be done to stop disappearances and save lives. Please join us on May 5th, 2019, as we honor missing and murdered Indigenous women and together increase our national awareness and demand change at the tribal, federal and state levels.
NIWRC Interviews with Native America Calling’s “The drive to solve the MMIW problem”
Native America Calling’s show “The Drive to Solve the MMIW Problem” (May 6, 2019).
The four Native American members of Congress just introduced a bill to create an advisory committee on missing and murdered Indigenous women. Some states like New Mexico and Wyoming assembled task forces to address the issue. Washington State is requiring the State Patrol to establish “best practices” for investigating missing Native Americans. Will more task forces, research reports and policy guidelines help solve the ongoing problem that disproportionately harms Native women? We’ll hear about some of the latest efforts and hear from experts about what the most promising approaches are.
- Wenona Benally (Diné) – former state representative in Arizona representing district 7
- Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) – U.S. Representative for the first district of New Mexico
- Lucy Simpson (Navajo Nation) – executive director of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
- Princella Parker RedCorn [Umóⁿhoⁿ (Omaha) Tribe] – communications officer for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
Watch NIWRC’s 2019 Wear Red for MMIW Awareness Video
Watch Subcommittee Hearing “Unmasking the Hidden Crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW): Exploring Solutions to End the Cycle of Violence”
Sarah Deer, Muscogee (Creek) Nation (testimony)
International & Interdisciplinary Studies – Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, School of Public Affairs & Administration, Professor, University of Kansas
Ruth Buffalo Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (testimony)
Representative, North Dakota House of Representatives
Mary Kathryn Nagle, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (testimony)
Legal Counsel, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC)
Mary Kathryn Nagle is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She is partner at Pipestem Law, P.C. where she specializes in federal Indian law and appellate litigation. Nagle co-authored and filed an amicus brief in Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on behalf of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and more than one hundred organizations working to end domestic violence and sexual assault. As counsel to the NIWRC, Nagle has drafted and filed numerous briefs in the United States Supreme Court articulating the connection between preserving tribal sovereignty and ensuring safety for Native women and children. Nagle also has extensive experience with numerous laws that protect the rights of American Indians, including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the Indian Child Welfare Act. Nagle works out of Pipestem Law’s Washington, D.C. office.
Tami Jerue, Anvik Tribe (testimony)
Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center
NIWRC Collaborates with Rematriation Magazine
Rematriation Magazine is honored to partner with The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Joanne Shenandoah and #WhyWeWearRed Media Coalition, to support The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women On May 5th, 2019.
A study released by the U.S. Department of Justice has found that some tribal communities American Indian Women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the National average. Over the last decade awareness of the national issue has increased but more must be done to stop the disappearance and demand change at the tribal, federal and state levels.
NWRC Staff at MMIW Events on May 5th, 2019
Grammy Award Recipient Joanne Shenandoah released her new video on May 5, 2019 as part of an international movement to draw attention to the thousands of missing and murdered Native women in the US and Canada. Under the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement that day has been set aside to acknowledge this crisis and to compel national, state and provincial governments to take action.
In a report published online by Foreign Policy (www.foreignpolicy.com) it is stated that: According to 2011 data, though Canada’s 718,500 indigenous women make up just 4.3 percent of the country’s female population, they represent around five times as many female homicide victims. Canadian police have found that 4.5 out of every 100,000 indigenous women die by homicide — for women overall, the figure is less than 1 — and that roughly 1,200 have been slain or have gone missing over the past three decades. Nongovernmental research, however, suggests the real number may top 4,000. How many cases have been solved is another point of dispute: The government claims nearly 90 percent, but some indigenous activists say it’s closer to 50.
Of these Canada’s Department of Justice cites the fact that 53% of those who murder Native women are relatives with 17% of these killings taking place on the road.
The situation in the US is equally as grim. The Urban Health Institute (www.uihi.org) reports that 5,712 Native women have been either killed or are missing in the past thirty years. Robert Johnson, Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Investigation Division, testified before Congress on December 12, 2018 that his office had 633 cases of murdered ad missing resulting from the work of the Safe Trail Task Force which includes 90 officers and agents across the nation.
Organizations such as the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center in the US are not only pressing for national legislation to address this issue but to call all Native nations to act accordingly.
One of the first persons to ask people to wear red as a symbol of unity is Joanelle Romero, Apache, whose web site www.rednationff.com issued a call to action: #WhyWeWearRED A Global Call to Action and Media Coalition initiative that aims to bring awareness to Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women & Girls and the lack of inclusion of Native Women in Film & Television.Other issues Indigenous Women face: sexual harassment, assault, human trafficking, inequality for women in all kinds of workplaces, violence against the land is violence against women.Violence against Native women has reached epidemic proportions. Four in five Native women will be the victims of violence during their lifetimes. Native women remain the most underrepresented minority in the industry.
Shenandoah is the former Co-Chair of the National Task Force on American Indian and Alaskan Native Children Exposed to Violence which held hearings in 2014 across the country in response to an urgent need to address this crisis. The hearings, ordered by former US President Barack Obama, revealed the extent to which Native women are subjected to physical assaults including murder. Her committee’s report can be found on the web site: www.futureswithoutviolence.org.
To further her commitment to combating violence endured by Native women Shenandoah worked with film and media students at Syracuse University who were under the guidance of Professor Tula Goenka of the Newhouse School of Communications. The students recorded, cast, produced, directed and edited the video which included Oneida actors Ciera Bluewolf and Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy. This video was created by Television, Radio & Film graduating seniors Peter Conway, Elijah Goodell and Sarah Rebetje as their Capstone at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication. Executive Producers Professor Tula Goenka and Andrew Robinson.
At the SU premiere Michelle Shenandoah-Powless presented a summation of her work as publisher of the new online magazine Rematriation. Mary Lyons, Anishnabe, gave a powerful personal narrative of her experience of her sister, a victim of violence and murder. Doreen Bennett, Maori of New Zealand, came from the Indigenous Forum at the United Nations to lend her support as did the audience, most of whom were wearing red.
Shenandoah’s song “Missing You” now available on You Tube includes Loren Barrigar- guitarist, Brian Michaels-cello, and Patrick McDougal engineer. It is dedicated to Leah Shenandoah, Joanne’s daughter also a victim of violence.
[Helena, MT, May 29, 2019] – The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has recommended that the UN Economic and Social Council “approve an international expert group meeting, as soon as possible, to draw attention to ongoing issues of human trafficking, impunity, and the failure of police and justice systems to respond to cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.” The Permanent Forum made this recommendation in response to the voices of countless indigenous advocates and allies who have done so much work to bring awareness to this issue, and in response to the advocacy of the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, Indian Law Resource Center, National Congress of American Indians, and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, during the Permanent Forum’s 18th Session in April. “We are just now beginning to see results from the years of hard work to secure justice for the countless indigenous women who have been murdered or gone missing,” said Paula Julian, Senior Policy Specialist for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. “We thank the Permanent Forum for their work, and for this essential recommendation, and we look forward to working with indigenous women and indigenous nations around the world to turn this proposal into a decision.”
On April 24, 2019, Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, Indian Law Resource Center, National Congress of American Indians, and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center co-sponsored a panel discussion at the United Nations in New York, Violence against Indigenous women in the United States: How Indigenous nations and women are leading the movement to end the epidemic of violence in Indian country and Alaska Native villages. This was a side event at the annual session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, one of the United Nations’ bodies specifically tasked with examining matters affecting indigenous peoples around the world including their human rights. Tami Truett Jerue from Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center and Paula Julian from National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center spoke on the panel. They were joined by moderator Terri Henry, Member of the Permanent Forum.
Besides educating UN staff and indigenous advocates about these issues, the speakers offered two direct recommendations to the UN. First, they called on the Permanent Forum to propose an international expert group meeting to study and discuss missing and murdered indigenous women as a complex international phenomenon that needs a multi-faceted response from the UN. “We know that this is not a problem unique to the United States and Canada,” said Chris Foley, staff attorney at the Indian Law Resource Center. “It is a violation of indigenous women’s human rights that is occurring worldwide and it is very often connected with human trafficking, with issues of femicide and legal impunity, and with colonialism and discriminatory criminal justice systems.” Secondly, panelists urged the UN to adopt new rules to improve the ability of indigenous peoples’ representative institutions, including tribal and village governments, to participate in UN meetings on matters affecting them. “Our governments have the expertise, the resources, and the legitimacy to speak about our needs, but the UN needs to create space for our leaders to advocate directly for us and the UN needs to give our governments a status that respects them as rights-holders and global actors,” said Tami Truett Jerue.
The Permanent Forum responded positively to both of these recommendations. In addition to its recommendation regarding the Expert Group Meeting, the Forum also urged UN Member States to continue working to enhance indigenous participation at the United Nations. These recommendations will be formally presented to the Economic and Social Council as part of the Forum’s Session Report later this year. “We know it will take more work and more advocacy to convince the UN and the Permanent Forum to move from issuing recommendations to address missing and murdered indigenous women to actually getting started,” Chris Foley said. “Even so, securing a formal recommendation from the Forum is a great victory and an essential step in this work.”
The recommendation regarding missing and murdered indigenous women is available in UN Document E/C.19/2019/L.10, Draft report: recommendations of the Permanent Forum on the implementation of the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum with reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Recommendations regarding indigenous participation at the United Nations are available in UN Document E/C.19/2019/L.7, Draft report: recommendations of the Permanent Forum on the follow-up to the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Both documents can be downloaded at https://undocs.org/en/E/C.19/2019/INF/2. Additional details about the side event are available at https://indianlaw.org/swsn/UNPFII_2019.
The Sovereignty bracelet is Batey Girls vision to place a wearable symbolic reminder throughout the world while also taking action and raising money for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, 10% of sales will be donated to NIWRC. Every time someone wears the bracelet, they are standing in solidarity with the Native community and saying to our women, “You are not invisible. I see you. YOU MATTER.”
Batey Girls was established by the nonprofit organization; Batey Rehab Project, to provide economic opportunities for women and girls at risk of sex trafficking and domestic violence in the Dominican Republic. Our program was inspired by the true story of a nonprofit founder who witnessed parents selling their teenage daughters for sex. This program was created by the women and girls of Batey Milton providing an opportunity to begin new lives, and break free from the cycle of poverty. We have created a jewelry brand that you can be proud to wear, knowing that you are part of our mission to empower women and girls both internationally and here in the USA.