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Native Sun News: Conference tackles violence against women

The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Managing Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

Faith Spotted Eagle will speak at the conference on the concept of militarization in modern times. COURTESY/

Man Camps often bring sexual violence against women
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Managing Editor

RAPID CITY— Statistics show that wherever there are man camps; crime rates rise, sexual violence against women rises, and the surrounding communities suffer.

So when Keystone XL posted on their website several proposed locations where man camps would be constructed, some of which were near Native communities, outrage erupted and several tribal members around the region moved to action.

The result is a conference planned to educate both tribal members and tribal governments about the dangers of that come with the construction of man camps.

As demonstrated by the oil boom in North Dakota the number of workers that are needed to work in the oil industry often times more than the number of available housing units available in the rural areas.

“I really hate to say this but the statistics have shown that wherever mother earth is being raped so are the women in that area,” said Merrick. “When you do this work you start to think of the bigger picture and speak to people who care about their community you start to see that everything is related,” she added.

The event that is set to take place August 16-17 at the Ft. Randall Casino is being hosted by multiple tribal organizations from around the northern plains and will feature several nationally known speakers including activist Winonna LaDuke, Gyasi Ross, and Faith Spotted Eagle.

Spotted Eagle has been one of many people speaking out against the Keystone XL pipeline along with Debra White Plume, Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer and Rosebud Sioux tribal President Whitey Scott and handful of other tribal leaders who have pledged to prevent Keystone XL from constructing the pipeline across lands encompassed by the borders established by the Ft Laramie treaty of 1868.

“Man camps are a blaring threat to communities in our treaty lands. We have sacred sites and we have people that know the land and when things like the man camps and the pipeline are forced on us it is a form of militarization it is very much like the Army forts that they put on our lands in the 1800s. That is why we want to educate the people and let them know that they can say no,” said Spotted Eagle.

At the conference Spotted Eagle will speak on this concept of militarization in modern times. Several other topics will be covered during the two day conference some of which include talks on the impacts of man camps on Native communities in North Dakota a presentation of statistics on violence against Native women in Indian country and a talk from South Dakota US attorney Brandon Johnson.

Johnson has been an advocate of expanded jurisdiction for tribal courts in domestic violence cases and was a major advocate on behalf of the tribal provisions that were included in the latest version of the Violence Against Women act.

According to Spotted Eagle an important part of the event is to educate tribal governments on the threats posed by the man camps and the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

For more information on the event you can contact the Ft Randall Casino.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at Copyright permission by Native Sun News

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