Jodi Rave: Protecting indigenous rights
"Beverly Jacobs arrived at the United Nations to see standards put in place to protect the human rights of the world's indigenous peoples.

I met Jacobs Sept. 13 in the United Nations General Assembly hall just before 144 nations voted to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Four countries voted no. Eleven abstained.

Jacobs, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, was one of the only people I met from an English-speaking country who arrived in New York specifically to advocate for the rights of indigenous women.

“A lot of our work is focused on the human rights violations that are happening to aboriginal women in Canada,” she said. “Right now we're dealing with major crises of violence.”

The United States and Canada were among two of the four countries that voted against the declaration. Meanwhile, both nations share a responsibility in the horrendous treatment of indigenous women.

This past Wednesday, police in Ontario released a composite sketch of a suspect in the murder of Kelly Morrisseau, a 27-year-old aboriginal woman found naked and stabbed in a parking lot last December. Kelly died later in a hospital. She was seven months pregnant.

Family members hope witnesses will step forward. A vigil will be held in memory of Morrisseau on Oct. 4. She will be a reminder that aboriginal women in Canada are five times more likely to die a violent death than non-aboriginal women. They are more likely to live in poverty and more likely to be homeless. These women are being wiped out of existence. Some 500 indigenous women were missing or murdered in Canada in 2003.

In the United States, one in three Native women will be raped in their lifetime. And violence against them is nearly three times higher than any other group in the United States, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Time to put indigenous declaration to good use (The Missoulian 9/23)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave

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