by Winter Rabbit | 10/30/2007 05:30:00 PM

Herstories on the issue of violence against women

A Cheyenne proverb states, "A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors or how strong its weapons." Our hearts are not on the ground. Our feet are. And we are moving forward.

A travesty to the true spirit of justice is taking place on the Standing Rock Reservation that covers North and South Dakota. Predominantly white male rapists are sexually assaulting American Indian women and getting away with inadequate consequences or no consequences whatsoever.

Crossposted at Native American Netroots

Show me a rapist of an American Indian woman and I'll show you an upstanding member of society. That's what the Major said about a man who plead guilty to raping an American Indian woman. Maybe the thieves and vandals who have caused property damage so severe that Pretty Bird Woman House had to close its doors for now are "upstanding citizens" as well.

Thieves have stolen food and a television set from Pretty Bird Woman House. The very walls were smashed through to break inside or destroy it; then, it was set on fire.

(Not Pretty Bird Woman House)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

What if this occurred in a Caucasian controlled city or county? Allow me to share a story from my personal experience.

I left a gig with horn and stand in hand; I was walking to the parking garage. I witnessed a couple fighting when I got to the elevator. "A little unusual, but none of my business," I thought. However, next the man called his girlfriend a slut and slammed her up against the wall. It became my business. While three others were standing around, wondering if they should call 911, I said "Stop" firmly to him. Ignoring me, he became more violent; so, I commanded her to get out of the elevator.  One of the others was calling 911 at that point. She did not get out of the elevator, "My keys are in his truck." He lowered his head and pushed his hand towards me for me to back off; he couldn't look me in the eye. I told her to get out again. The doors closed.

I told the others with cell phones to follow me up the stairs and to be calling 911. They bailed. I went to the second floor and waited. Nothing. I didn't know which floor they went to, "Battered wife syndrome" I thought as I went down the stairs and found a police officer on the street. I told him what happened and he went into the parking garage to investigate. That is the difference between what happens on the Standing Rock Reservation and a Caucasian controlled city or county - justice.


In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in Oliphant v. the Suquamish Indian Tribe that tribal governments have no criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians. When a crime is committed, tribal police and their non-Indian counterparts must hash out whether the suspect is Indian or not.

I have two primary reasons why I did what I did. The first one is that violence against women doesn't happen in front of me; I won't allow it. The second one is that that woman, whatever her name, is my cousin. She is my relative.

Here is a CHIPIN CAMPAIGN from PiledHigherandDeeper, who asked me to do this here.

Please make a donation at the CHIPIN CAMPAIGN for the Pretty Bird Woman House to help keep the hearts of the women off the ground.


"I prefer to characterize rape simply as a form of torture.  Like the torturer, the rapist is motivated by the urge to dominate, humiliate, and destroy his victim.  Like a torturer, he does so by using the most intimate acts available to humans -- sexual ones."

Helen Benedict, Virgin or Vamp, 1992




Blogger Unknown on 10/30/2007 9:32 PM:

You can put this in the context with (admittedly much lesser) outrages such as the US's official objection to an American citizen being caned in Singapore in 1994, but our refusal to commute the death sentence of a German citizen five years later. (The situations are analogous because the US considers caning unconstitutional, while Germany considers the death penalty unconstitutional.)

That is, every one of these is the act of an imperialist power abusing its authority. I read Niall Ferguson's Colossus a couple weeks ago in class, and his description of the American westward expansion of the 1800's as a form of imperialism really rang true with me; I'm ashamed to say I'd never thought of it that way before.

Anyhow, I don't really have anything to add to this tragic post -- just keep shouting, and maybe someday someone who can change things will hear you.


Blogger Winter Rabbit on 10/30/2007 10:03 PM:

I think it's wonderful you're in that class! I remember when you were accepted. Very huge step.

I'm reading something on the research proving that the cultures here were in fact predominantly peaceful before Columbus.
If you'd like, I'll post it as an open thread next week. It's really an eye opener.

I'll have to read the links you gave and comment later, long day and it's bedtime. Good night and sleep well.