Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

 
 

Guest Editorial

 


There is still a political and social fight for the VAWA. Although it is at a stalemate in US Congress, last week congressmen introduced H.R. 6625, a new stand-alone House version of VAWA, which contains language to address tribal court jurisdiction and judicial parity in prosecuting non-Indian defendants. Meetings were held last week and they are a sign that progress is being made. Native women are murdered at 10 times the national rate; 1 out of 3 Native women will be raped in her lifetime, and 3 out of 5 physically assaulted. Even worse, 88% of the perpetrators are non-Indian and cannot be prosecuted by tribal governments. This new form of the Violence Against Women Act that will close that gaping loophole. Stand and take action now to restore safety and justice for Native women. Do Something!

To the Indigenous Woman

A poem by the 1491s

To the Indigenous woman, I am sorry we have not fought harder for you.  For the woman and her baby left for dead by the police in her home, while they gave a ride to her attacker back to his house. To the girlfriend punched in her pregnant stomach, to the wife who took the beatings so her kids wouldn’t have to, to the daughter who found a man as abusive as her dad, to the co-ed who will never go to the nine again, to the restraining order, as strong as the paper it is made from, and to the shelter with not enough beds, I give: one thousand sweats for rape victims, 1000 doctorings for husbands, 1000 prayer ties for courage, 1000 meetings for silence, 1000 songs for patience, and 1000 fires, for enough light to fill a room, to reflect off a mirror the size of the moon, just so we can see ourselves for what we are - complicit.

Do I dare you to protect them Mr. President. I dare you to make laws for them, senators and representatives. I dare you to try and stop me tribal leaders. I dare you to go look for me police officer. For every 1000 Native women in your district, 330 of them will be sexually assaulted; 88% of the perpetrators will be non Native and every piece of every legislation needs a champion, but not all champions are leaders and not all leaders are men, just like not all kisses are wanted and not all laws are consensual. They trespass her body, just like they trespass this land. In the corner of a hut home, in the backseat of a car, in a courtroom in every hall of every government, we fail them. The terrorist threat is in the same house, in the same car, goes to the same school and works at the same job and the threat ten times more likely to murder her than anyone else.

This war is at home, living room battlegrounds, bathroom infirmaries, back seat trenches, fists like tanks, sex like a war trophy. Under treaties of silence she whispered to me, please, please stop. I am your wife. I’m your sister. I’m your mother. I’m your daughter. You were supposed to protect me. You’re supposed to be a warrior. Protect me from you, from him, from all of them.  Tell me that you’ve got daughters. Tell me that you don’t want this for them. Tell me that you won’t joke about this with your friends.  Tell me that you won’t forget that we talked. Tell me that you will do something - do something.

 

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