September Hope Report

When partners from communities reach out to us with requests, it is our goal to respond to their needs as quickly as possible. The month of September was no exception as our communities experienced a spike in COVID cases in mid-September.

Source: September Hope Report

In many ways, all of us are fighting to survive COVID and its attendant economic fallout. Those who have less than us have the same needs as us, echoed in the poster shown above. How can we help when we have so little we can give financially to the multiple groups asking for help?

We can spread the word and hope somebody hears it, perhaps even our Congresspersons and Senators who seem to be as immune now to the needs of indigenous communities today as they have been in past centuries. I just read an article in Montana, The Magazine of Western History called “Investigating Negligence in Indian Affairs.” The Blackfeet and others were starving in the 1880s, Washington knew it, and did nothing. That attitude still rules Washington today.

So, it’s up to us. First to help. Second to get rid of those in government who won’t.

Malcolm

The issues surrounding Native American Education

Usually, August means excitement for children. Back to school means buying school supplies and new clothes for the school year, plus the benefit of seeing their friends again. However, for many Native Americans, it is a time filled with anxiety and stress because of negative school experiences. Not only is this an effect of family historical trauma but also an effect of low self-esteem and lack of cultural identity. There are numerous factors, but one deeply rooted issue goes unaddressed, year after year. The boarding school era (1860s-1960s) failed to offer the opportunities it promised Native people but succeeding in stripping them of their culture.

Source: The issues surrounding Native American Education

I like this organization because it provides hope for those who are often unheard and unnoticed. Lack of educational opportunities has been a huge problem for years, and it only got worse when the U.S. Government meddled in something that didn’t need to be “fixed” by outsiders.

One of my favorite pen pals over the years was a man who spoke fluent Blackfeet who was in the process of starting a school in Montana that would teach this endangered language. He knew was many off the rez don’t understand: the loss of a language is death to a culture.

I like the storytelling approach of Native Hope. We need more of it.

–Malcolm

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

nativehopeAlthough human trafficking “is a global issue, it is also prevalent very close to home. Native American women and children make up 40% of sex trafficking victims in the state of South Dakota alone. According to federal data, Native women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted as women of other races. They are also subject to high rates of intimate-partner violence and other forms of assault. These factors, along with poverty, substance abuse, and foster care, can make them vulnerable to exploitation. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, reiterates the ‘threat of human trafficking to Native communities and sex trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives,” describing the ‘first citizens of the United States as some of the most vulnerable.’” – Native Hope

Read more at Native Hope

According to their website, 88% of the crimes committed against native women are committed by non-Indians. This is a long-standing and intolerable problem and, frankly, the kind of statistic we believe we’re more likely to hear from a third-world nation. Of course, many Indian reservations rank below many third world nations when it comes to health care, employment, sanitation and other services most of us take for granted, and quality of life. Nonetheless, the facts surprise me.

Most of us cannot do anything about this problem by ourselves. Yet, through working with others, we can create meaningful change and improve the lives of countless women.

You can help by clicking on the highlighted link above, learning more, and considering a donation.

And, as the site says, “If you believe someone you know may be a victim or is in a vulnerable position, read our article on signs to watch for. If you are a victim and need help, please call the hotline at the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.”

See also: National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center  and Wiconi Wawokiya – a Lifeway to a Better Future Without Violence in Our Community.

–Malcolm