Politics

Violence Against Native American Women Largely Ignored by ‘Women’s March’

Reading about current events within the United States can become exhausting and depressing. On any given day, social media is trending with the latest outrage. While it’s important to highlight issues, many are used as political weapons. For instance, the rallying cries of the so-called “Women’s March” organization often target trendy political agendas. Their disingenuous outrage has more to do with political posturing and less with empowering or protecting women on American soil—the most vulnerable being Indigenous and First Nations.

There’s a crisis in the United States that has gone virtually untouched by mainstream activists and social justice warriors alike. Native American women across the nation are going missing and being murdered at an alarming rate. Indigenous women face violence at disproportionate rates. The national average is impossible to calculate because there isn’t a database tracking such occurrences. However, statistics submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice report that Native women are murdered at a rate 10 times the national average.

(Credit: #mmiw/Twitter)

Since Indigenous women are such a small minority in the United States, issues affecting their well-being often slip through the bureaucratic cracks of law enforcement and other agencies. The breakdown of communication between family members, tribal authorities, and federal agencies often leaves cases of missing and murdered indigenous women unsolved. Jurisdiction restrictions also contribute to the astonishing number of missing and murdered indigenous women in Indian Country. For example, tribal courts cannot prosecute non-Native suspects.

Another disturbing aspect is that violence against indigenous women goes virtually unreported by mainstream media. So-called activists and women’s rights groups also barely touch on the topic. As the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women (#mmiw) continues plaguing the Native American community, few are advocating. The social justice warrior circles have yet to highlight injustice against Native women as vocally as protesting against President Trump. While politics are important, we are talking about the lives of roughly 5,100 missing and murdered indigenous women.

Organizations such as the national “Women’s March” and its organizers have only just mentioned this epidemic in passing to weigh in on the controversial Columbus Day discussion. These so-called activists seem to Twitter their fingers off over trendy outrage. They even have time to address white women specifically to chastise their voting trends. If many of these women running marches turned hateful remarks to awareness for issues plaguing Indian Country, maybe legislation can be passed and change exacted. That makes too much sense though.

To hold such a significant voice on the national level and lend very little of it to the women indigenous to America is absolutely disgraceful. Considering the “issues” that rile up the entire Women’s March crowd, I’m not surprised that such an epidemic inside of our own country goes unnoticed. Missing and murdered indigenous women doesn’t shed a spotlight on immigration, anti-Trump sentiments, or Justice Brett Kavanaugh so you won’t find any trending hashtags or pink hats rallying in DC.  Social justice warriors aside, awareness needs to be raised on topics affecting the Native American community in the United States.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Angelina Newsom

Angelina Newsom is a U.S. Army Veteran. She has ten years experience in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies Criminal Justice and is still active within the military community.

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