Deer: Demanding justice for Native women victims

"On April 24, Amnesty International released a report - ''Maze of Injustice'' - documenting the numerous human rights violations associated with the sexual assault of Native women in the United States. I was fortunate enough to be one among the many Native women who contributed to the research and writing of the report.

When I was originally approached about working with AI, I considered the opportunity it presented to amplify our voices as Native women. AI is a worldwide organization with more than 2.2 million members in over 150 countries and territories across the world. Their work on such issues as genocide in Darfur and the civil rights of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has received international attention. During the past three years I served as one of the Native consultants for the ''Maze of Injustice'' project. I cannot overstate the level of professionalism, courtesy and reverence exhibited by the human rights activists at AI toward the women who shared their stories for this report. Dozens of survivors trusted AI to document and give voice to their stories of despair and hope. Attempting to capture this stark reality in a mere 133-page report was a major challenge.

Clearly, the statistics highlighted in the report are not new. The NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women, along with Native women's organizations across the nation, has been tirelessly raising the issue for several years. Native women suffer the highest rates of rape, battering and murder in the nation. Yet mainstream society remains woefully ignorant of our plight. The work AI is doing is to educate and activate the masses - those who can and should be allies in our work for justice. I recently corresponded with activist and artist Sara Marie Ortiz, Acoma Pueblo, who noted, ''An injustice against Native women is an injustice against humanity.''"

Get the Story:
Sarah Deer: Demanding justice (Indian Country Today 5/4)

Amnesty International Report:
Full Report | Press Release

Online Discussion:
Violence against Native American and Alaska Native Women (April 24, 2007)

Relevant Links:
Join Voices with Native American and Alaska Native Women and Take Action to Stop the Violence -

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