You are on page 1of 6


Virginia Orozco
ETHS 2440

Domestic Violence among the Indigenous Nations

Nigel Perrote of Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) states, When

you look at the media, often times its a white woman, often times younger and college-aged that

is getting the attention, and not a middle-aged Native woman who may have a criminal history

because I think people can relate more to [the young woman]; whereas maybe they cant relate to

a Native person or pretty much any person of color that has gone missing. Violence against

American Indian and Alaska Native women and men is at an all time high. According to the

National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), more than four in five

American Indian and Alaska Native women and men have experienced violence in their lifetime.

Before this project was completed there was very few estimates on the extent of violence against

American Indian and Alaska Native. American Indian women experience unique challenges and

suffer domestic and physical assault at rates that are far greater that women of other ethnicities

and locations.(Futures Without Violence). In a 2004 Department of Justice report, it was

estimated that assault rates for American Indian women living in reservations were 50% higher

that the next most victimized demographic. There needs attention, funding, and aid brought to

the American Indian and Alaska Native Americans that are victims of violence.

An Article by Kayla Webley Adler and Christa Hillstrom titled, Sex Trafficking in the

US: Crude Awakening: The Sex Trafficking Crisis Thats Right in our Backyard, shows a harsh

reality about the violence against women. The oil boom in North Dakota has brought a boom in

the male population and with it a boom in sex crimes. As the writers put it, This modern-day

gold rush has brought the problems of the old Wild West: crimes, drugs, and sexual violence.

violent crimes have increased by 125% between 2005 and 2013, it got so bad that the FBI

opened a permanent office. The male population that are flushed with disposable cash has

brought a large problem of sex trafficking and sex crimes. What this article does not mention is

that there are there are five federally recognized Tribes and one Indian community located at

least partially within the State of North Dakota. These include the Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara

Nation (Three Affiliated Tribes), the Spirit Lake Nation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation, and the

Trenton Indian Service Area. There are many Indian women who are living right in the center of

this oil boom who are sexually abused and taken advantage of. Crime against Native women are

underreported and under investigated.

It is time for agencies to take a closer look at the Native American communities that are

ignored. There is not a lot of comprehensive data on violence against women under tribal

jurisdiction since there arent any federal or Indian Agencies that are systematically collecting

this information. With emerging data, there is a small but disturbing view on violence against

Native women and men. Here are the Facts: More than four of of five American Indian and

Alaska Native women (84.3%) have experienced violence in their lives. This means that 1.5

million American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced that violence. This

includes 56.1% who have experienced sexual violence, 55.5% who have experienced physical

violence by an intimate partner, 48.8% who have experienced stalking, and 66.4% who have

experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner. (2, National Institute of Justice).

One out of three (39.8%) American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence

in just this past year. American Indian and Alaska Native women are not the only ones who

experience this violence, American Indian and Alaska Native men experience it too. Men in

these racial groups also have high victimization rates. More that four out of five (81.6%)

American Indian and Alaska Native men have experienced violence in their lifetime; this

includes 27.5% who have experienced sexual violence, 43.2% who have experienced physical

violence by an intimate partner, 18.6% who have experienced stalking and 73% who have

experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner. This means that over 1.4 million

American Indian and Alaska Native men have experienced violence in their lifetime. In the case,

Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe of 1978, the U.S. Supreme court ruled that tribes did not

have criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators. This meant that tribe authorities could

not prosecute non-Indian offenders, providing immunity to non-Indian offenders. In the Violence

Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, this partially corrected the problem by providing

federally recognized tribes with special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction. This meant that

non-Indian offenders were able to be prosecuted if they meet certain criteria. At least, 97% of

American Indian or Alaska Native female victims and 90% of American Indian and Alaska

Native male victims have experienced violence at the hand of one interracial, non-Indian,

perpetrator in their lifetime. The percentage of American Indian or Alaska native victims who

experienced violence by an interracial, Indian or Native, perpetrators were 35% for females and

33% for males. This is a much lower percentage, and this shows that there needs to be a better

way to prosecute non-Indian offenders.

These high percentages of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native victims

shows serious damage and how it affects the victims. The study that the National Institute of

Justice provided also showed percentages on how this violence affects the victims, 66.5% of

American Indian or Alaska Native women and 26% of men experience concern for their safety,

41.3% of women and 20.3% of men were physically injured, 49% of women and 19.9% of men

needed immediate services, and 40.5% of women and 9.7% of men missed days of work or

school. This creates a need for programs that can help Native American or Alaska Native

victims. Unfortunately, more than one out of three American Indians and Alaska Native female

victims and one out of six American Indians and Alaska native male victims were unable to

receive the services that they needed. There is a continual need for services and assistance.

The program that I created, Violence Among The Native Americans, was created as a

program that could bring attention and services to Native Americans. The objective of this

project was to provide immediate essential services and support to Native victims who are in

crisis and assist them with their needs. This program could provide each person with crisis

intervention referrals, safety planning, and have an access point to connect to other appropriate

programs, catering to each persons individual needs. This program could coordinate with the

Utah Navajo Health System that creates a position for a victim advocate to work and establish

awareness of violence in the Native community and outreach that is needed. This program could

work as an agency liaison with the Tribal communities. A bridge that gaps the distance between

tribal communities and federal and states agencies and a way to bring education and awareness.

Tribal communities face tough problems that could potentially correlate to violence

against Native Americans. Tribal communities face poverty and crime on a daily bases,

employment is very limited in these communities. This program could facilitate preemptive

training, education, and awareness, as well as, bring to light which programs need to improve.

This program would begin with establishing trust with Tribal Communities because currently

there is a lack of trust between Tribes and State. This program would be an advocate to bring

much needed funding into the Tribes.


Funding and an understanding of the Native American community could lead to a

reduction in violence. It is important to understand the history of Tribes. Native Americans and

American Indians experience all sorts of Trauma, including Historical Trauma. Historical

Trauma is as Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Braveheart states, Historical Trauma is cumulative

emotional and psychological wounding over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from

massive group trauma. It means that Native Communities are still experiencing

multigenerational trauma that has brought about poverty, dislocation, violence, etc. It is

important to state that Historical Trauma is NOT an excuse but rather an explanation of

circumstances that are unique to Native Americans. This lead to a higher percentage than any

other racial or ethnic group in suicides, poverty, substance abuse, and sexual assault. (Kristina

Groves, Working With Native American Clients) There need to be addressed that the Native

American communities are viewed with a bias nature or assumptions. My program would

educate native advocates and provide a connection to Native Communities to create awareness

and give victims of crime, direction, resources, and spiritual support to start over.

My project would be an extension of the Utah Navajo Health Systems, Inc. An Indigenous

Victim Advocate would be hired and waged with a VAWA Grant presented to the Office for

Victims of Crime (UOVC).



Adler, Kayla Webley. Crude Awakening: The Sex Trafficking Crisis That's Right in Our

Backyard. Marie Claire, Marie Claire, 11 Oct. 2017,


Groves, Kristina. Working With Native American Clients. 17 September 2017, PowerPoint


Rosey, Andr B. Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men. NIJ

Journal, no. 277, 1 Sept. 2016, pp. 18.,

The Facts on Violence Against Native American/Alaska Native Women. Futures Without

Violence, 18 Oct. 2017,


Native American Legislative Liaison Committee, and Melissa Zito, Health Policy Consultant.

American Indian/Alaska Native Health in Utah. 16 October 2014