Violence against Native American women must be discussed

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Despite boasting a bold claim of “justice for all” within its pledge, America seems to disregard the concept of fairness when approaching the topic of injustices committed against its native people. With an unusually high amount of Native Americans, especially women, facing violence or disappearing on and around reservation boundaries, attention must rapidly be brought to the general public in order to inform the masses of the cruel and mysterious happenings taking place. Ignorance is simply not a valid option when such a significant amount of individuals and groups are so consistently overlooked by the American justice system. Although centuries have passed since the founding of the United States, its unjust treatment of its native population truly has not improved as much as is necessary for a nation proclaiming values of freedom and equality for all. Such declarations are rather arrogant and nonsensical; their literal meanings in stark contrast with the country’s true behavior and actions. In what seems to be the only way in which to right this imbalance, the eyes of the American public must be forcibly opened to the injustices befalling a number of its members. With the sheer amount of lives affected by this particularly cruel situation, a mass awakening is desperately needed, lest the citizens of the US wish to further their complacency in the blatant mistreatment of the original residents of the land.

Native Americans, especially women, are disproportionately vulnerable to violence, whether or not they reside on a reservation and the towns bordering it or an urban environment. For the former, security is provided by other residents of reservation communities, causing crimes committed by outsiders to be near impossible to achieve justice for, with state and county law enforcement of the surrounding areas usually unwilling to efficiently cooperate with native authorities. Heavily impacting the amount of criminally charged happenings related to this particular issue is the intrusion of large corporations onto native land. Motives of the companies aside (although most usually act with the intention of constructing pipe systems), the employees of said groups have been known to commit atrocities against the female population of the reservations they work upon or nearby. Most likely encouraged by the lack of proper legal action taken in related cases, they act in a morally reprehensible manner, violating and potentially ending the lives of indigenous women with little regard to their humanity. Being of Native American descent herself, CHS senior Citlamina Mejia had much to say concerning the matter.

“[In reference to outside police forces not concerning themselves with crimes concerning reservation members and residents of border towns] …reservation problems are reservation problems,” Mejia said. “Outside, bigger police forces usually don’t [involve themselves with such crimes] very often unless you can actually get the media’s attention or if money is brought into the [situation].”

With minimal protection put into place, indigenous women are often left fearing for their safety on top of the constantly mounting task of preserving their cultures alongside others with similar tribal backgrounds. Reservations were never intended to benefit the native population of America. They were formed with the objective of containing and confining the nation’s original people to barren landscapes so as to forcibly clear the land for its colonizing intruders, their often barren landscapes and routes leading to them permanently stained with the pain of those confined to living upon them. Although countless years have passed since the original genocide of Native Americans and their culture took place, America continually attempts to wash its hands of their presence and any issues concerning their wellbeing. Little to no thought or care is put into preventing the avoidable incidents taking place upon reservations, once again soaking the ground with blood spilled in the name of misguided confidence caused by thoughts of false superiority and greed on the part of many American citizens. Mejia, impassioned by the sheer gravity of injustices committed against native people, also commented upon the half-baked attempts of recent social movements to bring attention to the issues discussed.

“Now liberal groups and the media will acknowledge that certain areas are [belonging to Native Americans] but nothing is done to correct the issues surrounding the land and the people who live on it,” Mejia said. “I feel like a lot of [majority white-catering] media companies and big corporations like to play the role of [the informed, caring savior] but won’t actually take action to help native people. “

To further darken this already upsetting topic, unresolved crimes enacted upon indigenous women are, as was mentioned before, not limited to those residing within reservations. Native American and Alaskan Native females fall victim to violence and disappear from urban environments and towns bordering reservations at a rate much higher than the national average, averaging out at about 4 in 5 facing said dangerous situations in their lifetimes. Facing daily onslaughts of racism and acts of aggression due to the long-lasting influences of settler colonialism, these women suffer for no reason other than the opposition of others to their existence while the foolhardy country in which they reside boasts itself as a world leader in morality and justice.

For entirely too long, silence has surrounded the topic of the dismal treatment of Native Americans on their home soil. Any action, whether it be affirmative or physical, must rapidly be taken in order to right the wrongs plaguing indigenous people and their homes. As of now, the United States’ application of the values of “liberty and justice for all” on a case-by-case basis is utterly reprehensible and is in dire need of correction in order to truly fulfill the meaning of such heavily loaded diction. Whether or not the message within this article is taken to heart or not, the reality remains that Native Americans deserve much better than what they are given, and change will only come about should someone properly fight for it. The war to progress into an improved nation is constant, and this particular battle concerning the abuse of indigenous individuals and groups is one that requires as much attention as possible in order to right this terrible wrong and for once, live up to the words so often repeated in the recitation of the country’s pledge.