The news that tribes can now prosecute non-native domestic abuse offenders is fantastic news. That said, for this to finally arrive in 2015 is clear evidence of the White Patriarchy every one is tired to death of. Whites are tried of hearing about it, claiming we need to stop talking about race and race issues will magically disappear. Natives are tired of having to explain why that isn’t true and the disconnect with their reality that whites have.
It doesn’t surprise me that it has taken hundreds of years for the United States Government to come around on this issue. If you look at the criminal justice system’s track record on Domestic Violence through all sectors, you begin to see how badly that record sucks, to put it bluntly. Would social movements be tagging buzzword slogans like Victim Blaming, Not Your Mascot, Black Lives Matter, War on Women, or Idle No More if there wasn’t an issue encapsulated in those words? Something that these groups are trying to bring to the attention of others, to garner justice?
It’s really easy to dismiss the minority when they speak up against the injustices that they face, for their voice is a small fraction in the tide of all the voices that cry out across the land. Women number half the population, give or take at any time, and are still considered a minority class. Minority status is based on the level of sway a group has in multiple sectors of society, as well as population comparison. Meaning, half the population is underrepresented—everywhere.
Yet, we’re told the pay gap is made up—despite the fact that lower earnings is consistently reported as an issue in most women’s lives, and one of the factors that ties women to a relationship that is dangerous to her well being. Of course, we have those who will cite the men who are abused, as a means of shutting down the conversation, almost immediately. That makes it tough to fight issues. We’re seeing this with both the fight to remove racist mascots from national to local sports teams and again in the Black Lives Matter movement. The groups, however, are getting smarter about addressing that shutdown, by pointing out how saying All Lives Matter dismisses the unprecedented targeting of Blacks by the criminal justice system. Proportionally, the statistics DO suggest that not all lives matter, that Black Lives are not as respected. Think, for instance, the number of rapes that go unreported annually and the known reason of that: no one will believe me, and it’s not worth the horror of a trial to make them. That’s very nearly the same thought minorities have in fighting against the criminal justice system. After all, the laws were not written to protect minorities or women.
Ironically, pulling the rug out from under those discussing the issues around domestic violence imprisons men who are in a domestic violence situation. How so? Relegating domestic violence to the level of “she had it coming” or making jokes like “women deserve equal lefts and rights” likewise does the same. Each time a woman is diminished on the basis of her sex, a gender binary that imprisons all genders, including cis males is more tightly grounded. This traps people in a situation of thinking no one will help for various reasons: you deserve this punishment, no one will believe you, he/she really loves me but, real men would put their woman in her place—and so on.
I’m very glad that the government has made this part of the Violence Against Women act because it will protect not only women, but children and men, transgender people and gender non-conforming people. It is a step in the right direction, providing autonomy, which was promised decades ago to the tribal courts.
In addition, President Obama is about to sign a name change to Mt. McKinley (Alaska) back to the Native Danali. Way to go, Mr. President. This matters so much because it helps to roll back the usurpation by whites of sacred Native areas. I hope to see more things returned to their Native names in the future. I’m proud to be from a Northeastern town that brags a Native name, surrounded by other so named places. This is their land and we don’t have a right to erase them from it, nor does that make this United States more ours by doing so.
Read about the new domestic violence rule here:
WASHINGTON — Two years after Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, Native American tribes can finally take advantage of one of the law’s most significant updates: a provision that all