There is an epidemic of sexual violence being perpetrated against indigenous women in the Great Lakes region, driven by extreme extraction in the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and the Tar Sands of Alberta. Whether through fracking, or oil sands mining, or mountaintop removal, the violation of the earth through extreme extraction runs parallel to the violation of the human rights of Native people. "Violence against our earth and water is perpetrated on a daily basis, against those things absolutely vital to our very existence. We can't be surprised that people who would rape our land are also raping our people. We must do something to stop this from continuing," said Patina Park, Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center.
To address this epidemic, Honor the Earth is working with a coalition of women's and Native American organizations to convene ongoing hearings and investigations. The coalition's first action was to request a formal intervention by the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The UN submission documents the connection between extreme extraction and sexual violence against Native women in the Bakken oil fields of western North Dakota and eastern Montana, and the Tar Sands region of Alberta, Canada, where vast man camps of temporary labor have become lawless hubs of violence and human trafficking. It also contextualizes this epidemic within the history of colonization, genocide, and systemic violence against Indigenous peoples, which has always disproportionately affected women and girls. It requests that the UN Special Rapporteur hold hearings in the cities and Indigenous territories of Minnesota and North Dakota to address the epidemic of sexual violence against Native women. In the coming months, the coalition will be working to organize those hearings.
Support us in our fight to stop violence against women and the earth.
OTTAWA / GENEVA (1 February 2016) – Six experts* from the United Nations and the Inter-American human rights systems today urged the Government of Canada to fully address the root causes of the extreme violence and discrimination against indigenous women and girls in the country.
The human rights experts made their appeal at a key meeting in Ottawa with the three Canadian Ministers charged with designing the official national inquiry into the murder or disappearance of nearly 1,200 indigenous women and girls over the past three decades in Canada.
“The inquiry must be participatory, addressing the root causes of the extreme violence and discrimination against indigenous women and girls in Canada,” the experts told the Ministers for Justice, Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and the Status of Women. “Furthermore, it should be based on a solid appreciation that the human rights violations that indigenous women experience require adequate, effective and clear responses.”