Opinion: Pueblo women take on domestic violence
"Domestic violence is physical abuse, sexual assault, verbal abuse, emotional and spiritual abuse, stalking and/or a series of acts by another person who harasses you and makes you fear for your safety. Domestic violence is about power and control. It is unhealthful and a crime. Children witnessing violence experience danger, fear, isolation and hopelessness. No child deserves this kind of home life any more than any adult victim.

Domestic violence prevention programs exist in many of the New Mexico pueblos today, with offices right in the villages or a telephone number to call for immediate help. There are safe-haven houses for victims, with someone on call 24 hours a day to assist victims and their children. The eight northern pueblos have their PeaceKeepers program. Laguna has Family Services. Zuni has a program called New Beginnings.

Elder abuse is also evident in the communities, and these issues are being addressed. The N.M. Geriatric Education Council, with the University of New Mexico Southwest Indian Law Clinic, has worked for a couple of years on a project to provide a model program for intervention in elder abuse cases.

Tribes have their own ways of dealing with these crimes through the tribal courts. Still needed, though, is the full support of male tribal leaders for these programs.

For centuries, American Indian women have been ignored by historians. However, times are changing, with some of our Indian women becoming leaders of their tribes. They have come into the all-male councils and have even been elected governors or lieutenant governors. A great number of our women are lawyers, doctors and engineers - careers once dominated by men."

Get the Story:
Katherine Augustine: Pueblo women embracing solutions for domestic abuse (The Albuquerque Tribune 10/18)

Amnesty International Report:
Full Report | Press Release

Online Discussion:
Violence against Native American and Alaska Native Women (April 24, 2007)

Relevant Links:
Join Voices with Native American and Alaska Native Women and Take Action to Stop the Violence - http://www.amnestyusa.org/maze

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