A great many studies have been conducted on the subject of murdered and missing indigenous women – our women, the women of our nations.
But studies are meaningless if the facts aren’t accepted and acted upon.
The precedent if one were to look to the past would be rooted in the “discovery” of this continent, this hemisphere, and the resulting exploitation and colonization – a tragic reality that persists to this day.
Murdered and Missing women today is commonly associated with human trafficking and the drug trade, but there’s more to it than that.
There is a national, global, and even communal nature as well that stems from the decline of a traditional respect for women.
A traditional respect replaced by the adoption of patriarchal and Christian values of male dominance – men lead and women follow.
This lack of respect and male dominance experienced a surge in the 1960’s, a surge I associate with the formation of the American Indian Movement and the examples they provided.
Examples of drugs, alcohol, rape, and the embrace of patriarchal values.
“Warrior” came to mean men didn’t provide they controlled, used, and abused.
Fatherhood, the number of women, and the number of children sired became a bragging right rather than a responsibility as in the case of Dennis Bank$ and his “elk medicine”.
Women were chattel, privileged to be “owned”, privileged to be in the company of men who spoke mightily of native pride while negatively redefining the meaning.
There’s an adage that a house divided cannot stand – our house as people and nations has become culturally divided.
If our communities are considered to be “target rich” environments as this young punk says in the linked video, Rape on the Reservation, then it can only follow others will view our women as targets as well.
If any of our nations youth can speak of putting a woman in their place, of hitting, abusing, or getting them drunk and passing them around, then when we begin pointing fingers we need to point to ourselves first as discomforting as that may be.
And in that pointing give the AIM leadership one of those fingers for the examples and influence they generated.
The word “warrior” has become cliche, too often self bestowed for those who cannot reference themselves without including the word – to them I say if you call yourself one then be and act like one, protect and provide, be a real father.
Native pride? If you claim that then live it in a meaningful way.
If these things are done then our women will be safer, our communities urban or on the rez will be more secure – and that translates to a healthier environment for our children.
I know warriors, true warriors, both women and men who are making the effort – who understand what native pride means and living it.
Any in need of examples need only look to them, they and tradition based elders.
I am encouraged that I cannot provide an inclusive list of these true warrior women and men, such are their growing numbers.
I inevitably would unintentionally omit more than few – but I will take this opportunity to give a shout out to Denise Pictou Maloney, her sister Debbie, daughters of AIM murder victim Annie Mae Pictou Aquash, and Katherine McCarthy author of Invisible Victims, a must read.
The truth is we can’t allow borders to separate us, what happens to our women whether in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America must become a priority.