"Native girls and women are more likely than average to be the victim of a violent crime. Now, seven states are taking early steps to help better identify and locate Native crime victims.
Lynette Grey Bull, director of Not Our Native Daughters, is a survivor of attempted murder by an intimate partner. The organization educates the public about solutions to violence in Indian Country.
'There was a horrible day in my life where he put a gun to my head and put a few bullets in there and spun the wheel and pulled the trigger,' recalls Grey Bull through tears. 'And I remember praying in my head asking God if he let me out of here, I will never come back to him ever again. And that's what I did.'
Grey Bull said that while speaking at a reservation high school recently, 'when I asked the audience how many had either missing or murdered family members in their own family, I would say at least 40% of the room, hands went up.'
Such experiences prompted Grey Bull to speak up during a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women's March on the University of Wyoming campus this spring. Grey Bull addressed Wyoming's Gov. Mark Gordon directly, asking him to take action.
Then Gov. Gordon got up.
'Thank you, Lynette, for your comment about [how] we need to do a task force,' Gov. Gordon said. 'Sen. Ellis and I just talked about, let's do this, so we will.'
There was a surprised pause, then the audience broke out in applause. Gov. Gordon was referring to Wyoming state senator and Navajo tribal member Affie Ellis, an author of a 2015 congressional report called A Roadmap For Making Native America Safer. She said six other states are also adopting these task forces — New Mexico, Montana, Minnesota, Arizona, California and Nebraska — but that a task force is just an early step."
Read the full article here. For more information on this topic, see VAWnet's Gender Based Violence and Intersecting Challenges Impacting Native American & Alaskan Village Communities special collection.