Thursday, January 28, 2021

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 Abstract

Excerpted From: Kathleen A. Fox, The Missing and Murder of Indigenous Women and Girls: New Policies on an Enduring Crisis, 56 No. 6 Criminal Law Bulletin ART 1 (Winter 2020) (109 Footnotes) (Full Document)

KathleenAFoxThe missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls (MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls)) is an enduring national and international crisis in North America. The catastrophic, sudden, and inexplicable loss of Indigenous women and girls—as well as boys, men and Two Spirit Indigenous peoples been happening since 1492. For generations, Indigenous people have been subjected to extreme violence, dehumanization, and oppression, culminating in the intentional act of their genocide. And MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls) is one manifestation of Indigenous genocide. For generations, Indigenous communities have been all too familiar with the devastation and aftermath of losing family and community members; and after more than five centuries, non-Indigenous Americans are finally beginning to realize and acknowledge this crisis. Despite decades of Indigenous peoples and communities attempting to publicize MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls), several remarkable and monumental events happened in 2019 to generate public outcry in the United States. Perhaps most notably, Canada's National Inquiry into MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls) resulted in a 1,000+ page report concluding that the missing and murder of Indigenous women and girls is a “deliberate race, identity, and gender-based genocide.” Canada's report has had a widespread ripple effect within the United States, which, in part, propelled the ongoing grassroots movement into the public sphere. As one example of this grassroots movement, Rosalie Fish, a state of Washington high school track-and-field star, attended a track meet on May 25, 2019 with a red handprint painted over her mouth—the national symbol of MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls)—and the letters “MMIW” painted down her right leg. The images of her running in support of the MMIW/MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls) movement went viral. Soon after, a flurry of federal and state legislation pertaining to MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls) was enacted in late 2019. As of early 2020, the nation is waking up to the alarming realization that MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls) is still occurring in the United States—and it is happening at high rates.

This Article elaborates on issues surrounding MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls), including the (1) measurement problems that lead to underestimates; (2) known prevalence of violence against Indigenous women and girls; (3) known reasons why Indigenous women and girls are victimized, missing, and murdered; and (4) U.S. legislation and policies on violence against Indigenous women and girls, including state and federal legislation. This Article concludes with a discussion on the path forward for reducing violence against Indigenous peoples and MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls).

[. . .]

The United States is now beginning to embark upon a path toward reducing violence, missing, and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It is possible for the nation to mobilize an anti-MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls)/MMIP campaign—and that collective effort will become a reality when Indigenous and non-Indigenous people partner together toward the common goal of promoting safe communities. Indeed, the United States is realizing the beginning of an anti-MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls) movement as of late 2019. The generations of MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls) grassroots movements promoting No More Stolen Sisters have mobilized recent state and federal legislation, which is now igniting more research and public attention. And these efforts will continue to result in practical policy changes that will improve the safety of Indigenous women, girls, and communities. In the end, the global MMIWG (missing and murder of Indigenous (Native American) women and girls) and MMIP movement will directly lead to safer lives and communities among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Americans alike.


Dr. Fox is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Arizona State University.


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