Barren Trees

Photo Credit: Christian Morvan

Dear Reader:

Before beginning this article, I ask you for permission to discuss two very sensitive topics. The first one is suicide. The second one is sexual abuse. In the article below, the two are intertwined, perhaps shedding light on why our beautiful, young, Native American men and women are taking their lives.

Until we deal with the ugliness of this Evil, suicide will continue to plague our reservations. Our nieces, nephews, and grand kids will kill themselves either because they have been a victim and feel powerless and believe that it is better to be dead than to have that horrible thing happen to them again or they kill themselves for they could not “help save” a beloved one from the abuse and feel so useless that it is better to join their beloved than to live in this ugly, Evil world.

Recently, we received a disturbing account of one person’s experience within their community, an “outside view”, if you will, of a most vile and heinous crime that persists within Indian Country.

From Maine to Alaska, from Florida to California, there are people within Indian Country preying on our young people; Young women and girls, as well as young men and boys. They are sexual predators — young and old, affluent and poor, family members and non-family members — who, primarily because of their addictions to alcohol, drugs, and porn, are destroying our young people.

The purpose of this article is to not only bring awareness to this issue, but to call out these perverts of Indian Country, by name, if necessary, and to let our beautiful brothers and sisters know they are not alone. And that they must find strength and speak out against these people who violate them and violate their communities. In our quest to strengthen Indian Country and to save the lives of its children, we must stand together courageously and loudly to stop these people. Silence and shame are no longer options.

Message to the Perverts
I’m calling you out. Do you hear me, Minnesota? Do you hear me, Alaska? Do you hear me, South Dakota? I’m calling you out. What about you, Wisconsin? Do I have your attention? I’m calling you out.

Take your filthy eyes and your filthy hands off of my beautiful brothers and sisters.

And have the courage to GET HELP!

The Account
By Anonymous

I have thought long and hard about this and have spoken to many young people, their parents, and grandparents over the past 3 ½ years. Their first 3 to 4 visits never tell you anything, but by the 5th or 10th visit, they begin to let you in on the “secret” real life lived around them. Based upon all I have heard, I have drawn my own conclusions, which I share with you.

There is a great evil that resides on our reservations. Not a single reservation is exempt. What is it that makes this Evil so pervasive among us? And what nourishes it? I believe there are a variety of factors. We now have “classified” our people into groups: welfare poor, drug and alcohol poor, wealthy employed closet alcoholic families, wealthy drug and alcohol closet families, and one must not forget those gambling addicted families, plus those noted as “outsiders”. These classes affect those known as the most “traditional” or the “highly educated” or the “successful” ones.

From our community college leadership to tribal council to the local public school teachers to the so-called Elders and Medicine folks – to the gangs and other not so well known groups. If one is from a class of people deemed as a whole to be unworthy of protection, then it means they and their children become prey. They can be sexually, physically, and mentally abused in the open and, if one is caught, a slap on the wrist is all one gets and that is deemed a mark of pride. If they are closet families, they are also preyed upon, but behind closed doors by their fathers, uncles, aunts, etc., who are there drinking or drugging with their relative who has provided the family for degenerate amusements.

Children and parents unable to protect themselves run desperately seeking a safe haven – BUT WAIT – there is no safe haven without a stigma attached to it. Safe houses do not exist on reservations. If you go to one, everyone knows who and what has happened to you within hours of your arrival, so the official Safe Houses rarely get used. My home is not a Safe House but it is a safe home and I regularly get folks who come to “visit” and help me around the yard over weekends and, once in a great while, during the week. Some stay overnight while others stay two or three nights. They and I tell people I “hired” them to come help me with some chores in the “remodeling” of my house or in the fixing up of my yard.

I have a reputation of knowing how to use guns and shooting, then asking questions later, so no one messes with me on my property. You are safe if you come to my home. But I live in the country several miles outside of the village. You must really have fear in you to want to come to my home. This past summer I had three visits of young women and men who walked from the village pulling a wagon with their kids in it to my home. Such a sad, sad situation…but I do not ask questions – only hug and kiss them and play with the babies and feed them. Over time, they have told me the stories of their lives and the lives of others.

Degenerate, sexual perversions emerge as inhibitions get washed away in drugs and alcohol. Children and weaker adults become experimental objects used to satisfy sexual curiosity.

Degenerate, sexual perversions emerge as inhibitions get washed away in drugs and alcohol. Children and weaker adults become experimental objects used to satisfy sexual curiosity. Rage erupts and one beats the child, for it is a child of remembered rapes by old boyfriends and relatives. Anger and fear run rampant when one is unable to provide the money to the stronger ones to get drugs or alcohol, so they offer up their children or weaker adult to be “used” to make money in order for the drugs and alcohol to be bought. “Let that fat old drunk council man undress you and touch you – he will give us money and we will use some of that money to buy you candy. You can’t get pregnant from being touched.” This is what a young girl told me – she was “pimped” by her maternal Grandmother to one of our so-called leaders. It began when she was 6 years old and continued until she beat her Grandmother up last year. This young woman is now 13 and has the stigma of “elderly abuser.” She came to visit me to ask about birth control because she just had a period last month and was scared to become pregnant.

Who is the victim and who is the perpetrator? We all are. For we, as tribal people, do not want to admit to the reality of the Evil, which is here among us. We blame everyone else and everything else, but we are not willing to step forward to accept responsibility to make the changes we need to. The laws constrain us. Our old societies used to cut noses off and cut hands off. The chaste, good women would take up red willows and run an abuser through two lines of women, who beat them with the willows until their backs bled and they passed out from pain and blood loss. Rapists were, at one time, taken out and drawn into quarters by the warriors. Those drastic acts put a stop to much abuse. In the old days, we cut the disease out by death.

Today, we honor them by putting them into jails to get a nice bed and three meals a day, plus exercise, so they can become stronger to prey, once again, on our children when they get out. We don’t believe the children when they tell us that the tribal police take them out into the country to rape them or force them into giving oral sex  - both males and females. We turn our faces away from the truth.

Until we deal with the ugliness of this Evil, suicide will continue to plague our reservations. Our nieces, nephews, and grand kids will kill themselves either because they have been a victim and feel powerless and believe that it is better to be dead than to have that horrible thing happen to them again or they kill themselves because they could not “help save” a beloved one from the abuse and feel so useless that it is better to join their beloved than to live in this ugly, Evil world.

When I listened in on the hearings on suicide, not once did anyone speak to the degenerate Evil, which resides among us. Most people spoke in general terms, which are “safe” terms, for as long as we do not say it, maybe, just maybe it will go away by itself.

I, for one, do not think that will happen. What is the solution? I don’t know. I still think about it and pray and keep my door open and my pantry full for who knows how many will come to “visit.”

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How You Can Help

Are you or someone you know in need of help?

Hotlines
National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-799-SAFE (7233)1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline1-866-331-94741-866-331-8453 (TTY)
National Center for Victims of Crime,Stalking Resource Center1-800-394-22551-800-211-7996 (TTY)
Trafficking Hotline1-888-3737-888

Tribal Justice & Safety

http://www.justice.gov/tribal/

Violence Against Women (and Men) Federal and Tribal Prosecution Task Force

Department of Justice: Office on Violence Against Women

http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/section904-taskforce.html

http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/tribal.html