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Opinion: Stalking a big problem in Indian Country
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Filed Under: Opinion

"January is National Stalking Awareness Month. We have all heard the stories on the news. A protective order is obtained, the victim is found dead—often along with others. For Indian country this has special meaning.

The numbers for the general population are horrific. In just released statistics, more than 3.4 million Americans, women and men of all races and religions, become stalking victims every year. These numbers are low because many women, and even more men, do not report stalking—afraid, born out by research, that no action will be taken. In comparison, 1.2 million people are diagnosed with heart attacks, 350,000 people suffer strokes, and 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Victims of these diseases have well funded research organizations. Few resources are dedicated to the problem of stalking.

In Indian Country the numbers are far worse. American Indian women are more likely to be stalked than any other racial group (17%), mostly by non-Indians, compared to white women (8.2%), African-American women (6.5%), and Asian/Pacific women (4.5%). Contrary to the stereotypes that victims are passive and don’t defend themselves, in Indian country it is our leaders of both genders who are stalked--college students, attorneys, grassroots organizers, tribal leaders, etc. And while no careful research has been done, observations have been made that Indian men seem to be stalked more than has been recognized previously. And we know these people. These are not distant numbers. These are our own Indian people, known to us.

One tribal social worker, after being stalked for more than a decade, remains haunted by him, because even after his death, she can’t believe he’s really dead since she did not “see him put into the ground.” In the 1990s one non-Indian woman in a high administrative position on an Oklahoma campus stalked three well known male Indian leaders over a period of several years. She carried her handgun always and threatened them with her skill at target shooting. She abducted one victim to a nearby state. She stole a pet from another victim, broke in and destroyed all of his property, including regalia. Their children’s lives were threatened. She constantly called, harassed, and pretended a suicide attempt after killing another pet. There were witnesses, but nothing has been done to this day. She has moved from state to state and university to university and has never been stopped. Why?"

Get the Story:
Ann Dapice and Sheree L. Hukill: Stalking: Native American women more likely to be stalked than any other racial group (The Native American Times 1/27)

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