WASHINGTON, D.C. – NOW is proud to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday of October. We recognize that the history we celebrate is tarnished by systemic exclusion, genocide, displacement, and oppression of Indigenous peoples. Rather than celebrating colonialism, this holiday is a day of respect and learning from Indigenous peoples, and of reaffirming a commitment to call out any continuing injustice.
American Indian and Alaska Native women and men suffer violence at disproportionately high rates, according to Justice Department figures. More than four in five have experienced violence in their lifetime, including:
- 56.1 percent who have experienced sexual violence
- 55.5 percent who have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner
- 48.8 percent who have experienced stalking
- 66.4 percent who have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) have identified gaps in Tribal Nations’ legal jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of sexual violence, child abuse, elder abuse, stalking, sex trafficking and other crimes. A modernized and strengthened Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is needed to close these gaps and support survivors. We cannot continue to overlook atrocities that plague Indigenous peoples.
Today, NOW honors the rich history and the resilience of Indigenous peoples. We also rededicate ourselves to ending the shameful legacy of discrimination and violence that runs through our history. Although history cannot be undone, we have the means and resources to fix the present and future.