Native Activists Urge Congress to Act on Behalf of Women

October 1, 2006

Source: Journal Star/Lee Enterprises

On October 1, 2006 Lee Enterprises reported, " The report, when it was released in 1999, could have been a call to action: Native women are raped, abused, stalked and murdered more than any other group in the country. It wasn’t. 'When those statistics came out, there was no cry. There was no outrage,' said Karen Artichoker, director of Sacred Circle, a crisis center in Rapid City, S.D. But in the years since the Bureau of Justice report was released, longtime activists like Artichoker redirected their efforts and took their cause to the nation’s leaders. And they’ve successfully blazed a trail on behalf of Native women. Tribal leaders, through the National Congress of American Indians, have since joined with more than 30 tribal domestic violence coalitions across Indian Country. Together, they spurred Congress to action. The result: In January, President Bush reauthorized the 2005 Violence Against Women Act, which contained an important and unprecedented provision specifically aimed at making life safer for indigenous women. The Violence Against Women Act’s Safety for Indian Women provision could dramatically improve the way the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women provides services to tribes around the country. Justice Department officials met Sept. 19 with tribal leaders and anti-domestic violence coalitions in Minnesota for a first-ever government-to-government consultation to discuss safety for Native women."