Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. First, we acknowledge that Washington, D.C., sits on the ancestral lands of Nacotchtank/Anacostan/
On this day, YWCA National Capital Area is reminded that Indigenous people–particularly women–continue to be impacted dramatically by inequity in our country.
In 2020, the number of people who identified as Native American and Alaska Native (AIAN) alone and in combination with another race was 9.7 million, up from 5.2 million in 2010, according to this CNN article. Yet, advocates say that this census data is likely an undercount, thanks to a history of government misdeeds and mistrust. And, that this undercount will only further disparities, especially for those people living in reservations.
In recent weeks, our country tuned in to news reports of Gabby Petito, missing in the Wyoming wilderness. Yet, between 2011 and September 2020, more than 400 Indigenous women and girls were reported missing in Wyoming, according to a Wyoming state report. In addition, only 18% of Indigenous female homicide victims get Wyoming newspaper coverage, compared with 51% for white female and male victims, according to the report.
As a country, we must do better and find ways to change systems so that all of us have representation in our government, access to services we need, and feel safe & protected in our communities.
Take time today to learn more about the Indigenous peoples’ lands you currently occupy and make a commitment to supporting Indigenous communities all year long. We know that justice for all is achievable, but first we must acknowledge, learn about, and–most importantly–honor the true history of this land and her native people.