During Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, StrongHearts Native Helpline joins advocates, sister organizations and communities throughout Indian Country to raise awareness about domestic violence and to support and honor survivors and victims. This year, StrongHearts calls on everyone — advocates, tribal leaders, reservation and urban Indian community members, service providers and Native organizations — to support and strengthen the movement to prevent and end domestic violence.
According to the National Institute of Justice, domestic violence disproportionately impacts Native Americans and Alaska Natives, with more than 1.5 million Native women and 1.4 million Native men experiencing violence during their lifetime, often by non-Native perpetrators. Domestic violence has several faces: physical, sexual, emotional, cultural, financial and digital. Children, elders and LGBTQ2S+ individuals can experience domestic violence.
Domestic violence among Native Americans is not natural or traditional. The domination and subjugation of Native Americans began with colonization and continues today. Colonization was responsible for the theft, occupation, pollution and exploitation of Indigenous lands. Today, Native Americans who are living in tribal communities on or near lands that are exploited by extractive industries face the highest rates of domestic and sexual violence.
“There is a viable connection between the violence that has been inflicted on the land through colonization and violence brought on Native peoples,” says Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), director, StrongHearts Native Helpline. “When the value of the land is lost, the value of Indigenous peoples of the land is lost and violence follows.”
“StrongHearts Native Helpline is doing its part to raise awareness about this critical issue in our Native communities and to promote healing,” says Jump. “No matter where Native Americans live in the U.S. — on a reservation, in a small town, a rural area, or in a major U.S. city — we are here for you. Please join StrongHearts in believing survivors and victims. Let’s bring our voices together, and take action. Let’s collectively put an end to domestic violence once and for all.”