By Lily Eisner, Policy & Program Assistant, YWCA USA
Today, January 18, 2019, Indigenous people from around the world are joining together in Washington, D.C. to bring awareness to the issues and injustices facing Indigenous individuals, families, communities, and lands. The first-ever Indigenous Peoples March, organized by international grassroots collective Indigenous Peoples Movement, represents incredible collective unity and solidarity, as tribes, nations, and communities come together for a universal cry for justice.
Throughout modern history, Native and Indigenous peoples across the globe have repeatedly faced abhorrent injustices, and the legacies of colonization, racism, and marginalization continue to have severe impact on Indigenous communities to this day. Today’s mobilization is an important reminder of the ongoing political, environmental, and economic assaults on these communities.
Today, Indigenous men, women, children, and Two-Spirits face widespread issues and injustices of voter suppression, family separation, environmental devastation, sex and human trafficking, unaddressed epidemics of gender-based violence, police brutality and state violence. In light of these wide-ranging, incessant violent acts, today’s Indigenous Peoples March was aimed at gathering together in solidarity and demanding attention and action regarding the following:
- Missing and Murdered Indigenous women (Since 2016 there have been over 7,000)
- Native Lives Matter (For every 1 million Native Americans, an average of 2.9 of them died annually from 1999 to 2015 as a result of a “legal intervention”)
- Respect and Honor for Our Earth (Save our lands, waters and people)
- Respect for Treaties with tribes and Nations
- Border tribes, as they are being affected by the disregard of our historical agreements
- Puerto Rico, which still hasn’t received the aide it needs
- Protection for Native and Indigenous Children (From the Indian Welfare Act to Immigration, Indigenous children from Mexico and South America are put in cages)
With such a bold and public event, we hope the Indigenous Peoples March vaults the injustices facing Indigenous people into the national and global spotlight. This movement is stepping forward to demand the equal representation, justice, and freedom that is long overdue to Indigenous people. As organizers assert, “this is just the beginning.”
We must all stand in solidarity with the Indigenous people and fight against the very real, urgent injustices and issues facing these communities here and around the world. We must all acknowledge and take accountability for the generations of oppression, ignorance, and violence that have been committed against Indigenous communities and their autonomy, lands, and freedom.
As an organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empower women, we at YWCA know that our work to support women and families across the country must center women of color, including Native and Indigenous women, who are disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence and state violence, but often left out of media and policy narratives.
Indigenous rights are women’s rights are human rights.
Learn more about the Indigenous People’s Movement at: https://indigenouspeoplesmovement.com/