September 17-20th, 2016-The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center presented a session at the 2016 Excellence In Journalism Conference in New Orleans, LA. The session “Covering Domestic Violence Against Native Women” was co-presented by Princella RedCorn, NIWRC Communications Officer, along with Native journalists Suzette Brewer and Mallory Black. The resource page from this session is now available for Native, non-Native journalists and the general public. Resources include: audio from the session, power point presentation, photographs, tips for reporters, links to published stories and more!
“I felt it was important to talk about the historical context in regards to violence against Indian women since the beginning of European Contact in the Western Hemisphere.” Said Suzette Brewer. “From the minute Columbus and the Spaniards landed on our shores, Indian women – and children, for that matter – were targets of sexual violence, so much so that it was written about by nearly everyone, including average soldiers, priests and even Columbus. himself. It set the pattern of ongoing behavior that was perpetuated with each new colonial power and in one form or another, continues to this day, with little or no consequence for perpetrators. This, I think, is beginning to change with the work being done by the NIWRC and other organizations committed to protecting Native women and children.”
“I provided an overview of some of the historical and recent jurisdictional challenges to tribal courts as a way to give participants an idea of how this issue has persisted for years.” Said Mallory Black. “The legal loopholes that allow crimes against Native American women on reservations to occur don’t exist for other racial groups in the U.S. As Native journalists, we look to non-Native journalists and media organizations as allies in bringing these crucial social issues of race and justice to light.”
This session was important to present to Native and non-Native journalists “Because civil and criminal issues within Indian Country can be very complex, in regards to jurisdiction and forum, etc. Non-native journalists, for example, have a difficult time wrapping their heads around “tribal sovereignty” and what it means when a non-native commits a crime on Indian land. But I continue to believe that unless and until tribes have full right to prosecute crimes on their own land, Indian people will continue to suffer at the hands of non-natives committing criminal acts and skating free because of a jurisdictional no-man’s land.”