Jacqueline Keeler: NFL perpetuates violence against our women

Protesters at the Super Bowl game in Phoenix, Arizona. February 2, 2015. Photo by Jacqueline Keeler / Twitter

Jacqueline Keeler connects the fight against the Washington NFL team's racist mascot with violence against Native women:
At a vigil held in Phoenix’s Civic Space Park the night before, mere blocks from the giant Super Bowl party, a small assembly of Native American advocates and survivors of domestic abuse had held tea lights in the shadows below the park’s giant lighted sculpture that someone described as “a giant electronic dream catcher.” Many of those who spoke echoed a meme that our organization, Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, put out on social media that said, “To our Native sisters who are missing or murdered or victims of violence or rape or feeling disrespected or hopeless…No More. You are not forgotten. You are loved.” Protestors held up signs spelling out “No More,” the NFL’s domestic violence campaign hashtag.

Some of the assaults on Native women are due to jurisdictional gaps on reservations. Our tribes cannot prosecute non-federally enrolled people. This limitation on our jurisdiction is a result of racial stereotypes held by U.S. elected officials who believe Natives cannot be trusted with jurisdiction. Some of these gaps were addressed by the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013. But the desire to exploit these gaps and go “hunting” for Native women to abuse and murder is clearly tied to lingering stereotypes held about Native American women which permeate American culture.

Native women have the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, bar none. According to the Department of Justice, one in three Native women will experience rape, and Native women have 2.5 times the sexual assault rate and three times the murder rate of all other American women. In some counties, the murder rate for Native women is ten times the national average. These assaults are committed 78 percent of the time by white men. Native women are the only group more likely to be victimized by someone not of their race. As I said in the Think Progress article about the protest, “How white men view us matters.”

Get the Story:
Jacqueline Keeler: The NFL Perpetuates Stereotypes That Fuel Racism, Domestic Abuse (Indian Country Today 2/8)

Another Opinion:
Daniel Greenfield: Protesters Blame Native American Violence Against Women on “Redskins” Team (Front Page Magazine 2/7)

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