Joanne Shenandoah: Protect our Native children from violence

The Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence will present its report today.

Joanne Shenandoah and Byron Dorgan, the co-chairs of the Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, discuss how to protect Native children:
We know what is number one in all American’s lives—and that is our children. Yet, tragically some children in the United States are too often forgotten and living in systems without equal access to opportunity. This is all too evident in Indian Country.

Despite the heroic efforts of tribal leaders and governments, for American Indian and Alaska Native children born today violence is an all too common reality. Failed promises on the part of the federal government – including federal restrictions on tribes being able to protect their own people and chronic underfunding of programs – have led to generations of trauma and dire challenges, such as poverty, suicide, substance abuse and incarceration. These challenges are preventing Native American children from having the same opportunity as other American children to live happy, healthy and successful lives.

Despite all of that, there is hope. We can work together to help make Indian Country a safer place for all children.

The solution is not all that complex—the federal government must fulfill its promises. We must respect tribal sovereignty, and support and revamp programs that are intended to serve Native American children. We have to fix a broken system. We must work as partners with tribes to expand funding and make a commitment to reform, so that children and communities exposed to violence can heal and thrive.

Get the Story:
Byron L. Dorgan and Joanne Shenandoah: Federal Government Must Protect Native Children From Violence (Indian Country Today 11/18)

Get the Report:
Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence: Ending Violence so Children Can Thrive (November 2014)

Related Stories:
Native Sun News: DOJ report highlights activity in Indian Country (9/10)
Byron Dorgan: Support commission to study Native youth issues (11/18)
DOJ task force to make recommendations on Native child safety (11/15)
DOJ schedules hearings on violence against Native children (11/14)

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