"Following the historic Treaty signing at a community center in Ottawa, it was no accident that we were offered a ride back to our hotel by two First Nations grandmothers who were driving across Canada to bring attention to the numerous murdering and missing Native women in Canada. We climbed into a van that had the pictures on it of missing and murdered Native women. The two grandmothers driving the van explained that they were on a walk across Canada to bring attention to this outrage, which they urgently believe is related to industrial and mining development on or adjacent to Native lands. They were adamant about telling us to keep this in mind when stopping the KXL Pipeline, because it would protect the women, children and families of our nations. As we traveled to the hotel, I could feel the spirits of the murdered and missing women traveling with us in the van.
Upon arrival, the grandmothers showed us the picture on the van of their niece who is still missing, along with all the other beautiful young women plastered on the outside of the van. Eerily, as they urged me not to forget this, I thought of the recent news release in South Dakota of the six hundred man camp that would be located near numerous reservation communities in South Dakota, north of Colome, South Dakota. The pictures of the young girls on the van still haunt me as I continue the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline and Transcanada. I will not forget.
Why is this important? This question leads us into a conversation of colonization, conquest and power. The Department of Justice continues to release figures citing that one in three Native women will be raped in their lifetime by non-Native perpetrators. This is two and half times higher than the at large population which states that one in five women will be raped in their lifetime. The same Justice Department’s figures cite that 86 percent of perpetrators were reported as non-Native. The mere existence of these figures, behooves tribal nation leaders and every day people, Native Women Advocates and families to mobilize to prevent the coming of these so called “man camps.”“