A Look At The Surge of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

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Sumayya Halimah

In recent years many movements have been bringing awareness to Indigenous issues. At the forefront of these issues is the disproportionate amount of violence against Native women, girls, and two-spirit individuals. According to the U.S Department of Justice Native, American women are 10x more likely to be murdered than other women. That statistic doesn’t even account for all the violence.

Many cases aren’t reported or are misreported because Native women are marked as White or Hispanic. This issue itself is a result of many generational problems. Many of these perpetrators off and on reservations are white or non-native men according to local studies. The sexualization of Native women and racism against them is an important factor in this. Native women are seen as “exotic” or as sexual objects so they are more likely to be targeted. From old westerns to Pocahontas our films and stories we grew up with often uphold this stereotype, reinforcing it for generations. Many perpetrators know that on reservations it is not likely they will be brought to justice. There are a small number of reservation police. When a crime is committed, reservation police aren’t enough and police from outside the reservation won’t or can’t address it. The lack of adequate policing and reporting is a huge issue. The lack of publicity and awareness of this issue also makes it easier for perpetrators to avoid punishments. Another point to address is the poverty of Native people on reservations. Poverty often leads to crime and inter-familial murder and abuse against women play an important part as well. All in all this issue needs to be addressed and given more publicity.

Art credit to @issafelle on Instagram