Week 8 Day 1 Question 1

Our readings for today address what Andrea Smith terms “sexual violence as a tool of genocide” in the United States. Consider the following PBS NewsHour report (5:46 minutes) featuring an interview with Abigail Echo-Hawk, Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute. According to Echo-Hawk, what factors contribute to the high incidence of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in the United States? How have centuries of settler colonialism contributed to the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, to the detriment of their families and communities?

One thought on “Week 8 Day 1 Question 1

  • April 4, 2022 at 8:11 am
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    Sexual violence against the Native Americans is not a new phenomenon as it stems from the earliest days of colonization. The idea of white masculinity overtaking human rights from minorities through violence is prevalent throughout U.S. history. Physiologically, sexual violence on Indian women exists as a way to express control over their body, take autonomy from their livelihood and instill the concept of white control into their subconscious as well as the broader communities. Mack writes “brutal access to people’s bodies through unimaginable exploitation, violent sexual violation, control of reproduction, and systematic terror” (Mack 4). This is in line with the beliefs of Echo-Hawk about the destruction of her community. Echo-Hawk believes that victim blaming, underreporting of missing Indian women and racial prejudice which all are concepts lingering from colonialism are to blame for the current situation. Police ask questions from families such as “was she drinking? Is she a sex worker?”, in an attempt to justify the kidnappings as the fault of the own victim. White women are given the spotlight whereas 95% of missing Indians went un/underreported. Another problem is the lack of convictions, Echo-Hawk says that in Seattle, out of all the women interviewed in the community “94% of women had been sexually assaulted, but only 8% saw conviction of their rapists.”

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