Deathscapes

The Streets 10d - US: Sister Where Did You Go?

Deathscapes

Sister Where Did You Go?

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‘Depending on who you are, you have a drastically different experience of the city …. So if you’re a Native woman you’re at risk for all this violence and probably have experienced some form of violence that the rest of the city is completely unaware of.’ 

Annita Lucchesi, Southern Cheyenne cartographer


In the United States, where nearly three quarters of the American Indian and Alaskan Native population live in urban areas as a result of forced removal and relocation policies, the disappearance of Indigenous women from the streets is described as an ‘epidemic’ of unknown proportions. According to a report by the Urban Indian Health Institute, across 71 cities the causes of death for 506 cases of missing and murdered Native women (a vast underestimate of the total numbers) were shown to be caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, police brutality or a lack of safety for sex workers. At the core of the violence, according to campaigners, are ‘institutional and structural racism, gaps in law enforcement response and prosecution’.

Indigenous women are also going missing in rural areas like Big Horn County in Montana, which contains the Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations and has the highest rate of missing and murdered Native Americans in the State, and among the highest nationwide. Here at least 28 Indigenous women and girls have gone missing in recent memory, including 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid and 18-year-old Kaysera Stops Pretty Places.


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