It is no secret that the U.S. government has slaughtered millions of people in order gain the power it holds today, almost single-handedly wiping out an entire population without hesitation. Native American cultures have been compromised for the sake of American power for years, and those who haven’t been wiped out aren’t really living. Due to our selfishness, millions of Native American lives have been marked with mental health problems, abuse and a lack of fundamental resources. They are, without a doubt, the most oppressed group in the United States; millions of members still live on reservations where they face poverty and life-threatening illnesses.
Even bigger issues have arisen within the community — prostitution and exploitation has been taking away Native American women. Most of the trafficking happens in Minnesota where more than 83,000 Native people live, constituting approximately 1.6 percent of the state’s population. Native women and even children are being sold and shipped on freighters crossing the Canadian and U.S. border. The women are falling victim to sex trafficking and prostitution rapidly, because Native Americans have been left vulnerable. Without enough resources it’s easier to prey on a group of already erased people. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey and GAO Foster Care, Native Americans experience higher levels of poverty, rape and entry into the foster system — all risk factors for trafficking.
Human sex trafficking has always been a problem for women from all types of backgrounds; however, Native American women are disproportionately falling victim to this type of abuse which is where the problem lies. Native Americans make up, on average, one percent of the U.S. population, yet 40 percent of women involved in sex trafficking are native women. Native American women experience violent victimization at a much higher rate than any other U.S. community. 80 percent of rapes that occur amongst native women, are by the hands of non- native men. Who do you think are the ones selling the native women into sex trafficking? Of course, it is American men. We have already robbed them of their land, and now we rob them of their safety and innocence.
Here at the University, we have a small population of Native American students. What if it was your friend? How would you go about getting help for them? It is our job as citizens of the U.S. to make sure we can do our part in educating ourselves in order to be of service to others. A lot of these issues aren’t covered by mainstream media, and that’s a problem. It is time we stop the attack on the native population. We can’t take back what has happened, but we can stop it from happening again. The native population, especially native women, deserve respect, safety, kindness and equality. Let’s be the generation that gives it to them.
Chantelle is a sophomore in Media.
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