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Advocates: More Can Be Done for Missing, Murdered Native Women

Native women are murdered at a rate of 4.3 per 100,000, according to the CDC. (Howl Arts Collective/Flickr)
Native women are murdered at a rate of 4.3 per 100,000, according to the CDC. (Howl Arts Collective/Flickr)
May 4, 2018

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Saturday is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. Advocates say much more could be done to help Native American women who face violence.

The Centers for Disease Control reports Native American women are murdered at a rate three times higher than white women. Native women also are disproportionately likely to face sexual assault, human trafficking and other forms of violence.

Leanne Guy, executive director with the Southwest Indigenous Women's Coalition, says the problem is centuries old.

"I think at the core of this is racism,” says Guy. “Looking at indigenous communities as 'less than,' as disposable, our women and girls being rapeable, if you will, beatable, takeable."

Guy says rules of jurisdiction on tribal lands also make crimes against Native women often more difficult to prosecute.

Guy says many Native American tribes do offer domestic-violence resources to women, but says most programs need far more government support.

"Right now, our tribes get little funding to provide any kind of services for the violence that is happening within our communities, to strategize, to build services, to help address these things," says Guy.

Arizona is home to more than 300,000 people who identify as Native American, and more than 20 federally recognized tribes.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service - AZ