Native women are facing a crisis of violence. Homicide is the third leading cause of death among Native girls and women aged 10 to 24, and the fifth leading cause of death for Native women aged 25 to 34. In the United States today, American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are nearly 2.5x more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in the general population. 70% of these violent victimizations are committed by persons of a different race (Department of Justice).
In his article “Return the National Parks to the Tribes” David Treuer reminds us that national parks are the result of Indigenous dispossession. Everglades National Park is Seminole land. Olympic National Park was created by a violation of a treaty with the Quinault tribe. The first white people to ever see what is now Yosemite National Park were members of a California militia, intent on slaughtering and driving Miwok people off the land and into reservations. “Native people need permanent, unencumbered access to our homelands,” wrote Treuer, an Ojibwe author and historian. “All 85 million acres of national-park sites should be turned over to a consortium of federally recognized tribes in the United States" (The Atlantic).
To the average American, Hawaii elicits a fantasy. Palm trees swaying in the light wind. Hot white sands reflect a radiant sun and kiss a crystal clear ocean. Hula dancers wait at the doorsteps to a hotel overlooking the vast Pacific. But this fantasy is just that, and to many Native Hawaiians, their reality is quite the opposite. This continued exploitation of Hawaiian lands and culture to visitors, many of whom fail to appreciate its deep culture and culture, contributes to the systemic colonization of the Hawaiian islands.