Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect tribes in New Mexico, tribal leaders, anti-domestic violence advocates and behavioral health service providers will gather to discuss the impact of the pandemic on domestic violence and solutions to help keep women and children safe.
Incidents of domestic violence soared in 2020 during the stay-at-home orders imposed by tribes to contain the potentially deadly virus and caused unique challenges for service providers trying to provide aid or transportation to shelters. There are also only two safe houses for the 19 Pueblos on tribal land located in the Zuni and Laguna Pueblos. The Navajo Nation has has one shelter in the New Mexico region of tribal lands. During the pandemic, many of the shelters, including ones in nearby cities, were at capacity.
Although the exact numbers of domestic violence rates among Native American women in New Mexico are unavailable, it is estimated that four out of five Indigenous women are affected by violence and face murder rates 10 times the national average, according to a National Institute of Justice report. Tribal citizens may have been especially vulnerable because of the rural environment, job loss or furlough, and other challenges to food security and income.
Some tribes, including the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, have utilized CARES Act or emergency federal pandemic funding to build a safe house for women and homeless teens that will be staffed 24-hours, a decision that leaders with the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW) said could also aid Indigenous families in New Mexico.
“Now is the time that tribes could use these funds in a way that supports women and children continuously. And there is a significant need, even before the pandemic,” said Tiffany Jiron, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women Advocate Coordinator. “It’s important because these are mothers, these are our caretakers – these are the women that keep our traditions alive. At times it seems to be a lack of respect for women, especially when we see these rates go up significantly.”
CARES Act or other funding could also be used for behavior health programs to support families and anti-domestic violence advocates, who were called to homes in Native communities despite the challenges but were not initially considered essential workers during the pandemic.
The Coalition will discuss this issue and give an update on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls epidemic during the 7th Annual Tribal Leaders Summit, Planting the Seeds for Change, April 27-28. The summit is a free virtual discussion for tribal leaders, service providers and advocates. Reporters planning to cover the summit are asked to register in advance HERE.
“We are proud to bring together tribal leaders, advocates, and community members to hold conversations about moving closer to recovery from COVID-19 for survivors of violence,” said Angel Charley, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women Executive Director. “This year's Tribal Leaders Summit will ensure that the values of the community are aligned with that of tribal leadership as we build back services for survivors. “
To view an agenda or for more information on the Planting the Seeds for Change summit, go to www.csvanw.org.
About the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women
Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women is a member-driven tribal coalition that represents the broadest and most unified voice in advocating and collectively addressing violence against Native women and children across the region.
An alliance of more than 50 passionate, distinguished and highly committed organizations and individuals, the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women team of staff, Board of Directors and committed membership works aggressively to raise awareness about the safety of Native women and children at the state, tribal and federal levels, in addition to providing the utmost critical lifeline services to those affected by violence. Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women provides training, advocate support, and technical assistance for tribes and law enforcement seeking help in working with tribes. The Coalition also offers policy advocacy on behalf of tribes.
For more information about the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, go to www.csvanw.org.