The Solution to Endemic Violence Lies in Our Indigenous Communities

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In light of recent gun violence that continues to target marginalized communities, we must name the underlying problem: gender-based violence.

So far in 2022, there have been more than 200 mass shootings in the United States, a significant number of which have included the killing of an intimate partner or family relative – usually women and children. It’s a trend that continues to grow, as demonstrated in 2019, when the California Law Review noted that nearly 40% of mass shooting perpetrators have a history of domestic violence against their partner or parent, and we learned that this figure increased to 68. % in 2022.

We must recognize that the perpetrators of acts of extreme violence and domestic terrorism have a history of gender-based violence against women and children, and that this is not limited to domestic violence. This therefore raises the question, where does this violence come from and how can solutions be found?

Colonization and settler colonialism fostered an unfavorable environment that allowed patriarchy, capitalism and imperialism to infect themselves and our communities in detrimental ways. But the solution to colonial violence lies in our communities, and we and our partners are already doing the work to heal and prevent it.

As we work towards the liberation and safety of our communities, it is important that we increase the critical efforts of grassroots organizations working to end violence against black and brown communities. The following are examples of organizations that do liberation and anti-violence work and deal directly with prevention and community response to gender-based violence:

• The Coalition to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women (CSVANW). Its mission is to end violence against Indigenous women and children by advocating for social change in our communities. CSVANW provides training and education, technical assistance, policy advocacy and community support in the South West region.

• Pueblo Action Alliance. It is a collective intention to fight for environmental justice through culture, education and direct action to protect all tribal communities and to have a youth component that ensures that these Valuable knowledge is passed on to the next generation.

• Disappearing and Murdered Diné Parents (MMDR). This is a task force of volunteers working with Diné families calling for justice for their murdered loved ones and to recover their missing loved ones. MMDR uses the Diné Wellness Model, which centers Kinship, Harmony, Balance and Earth as components of solutions to the modern day monsters plaguing the Navajo Nation. These community groups are leveraging traditional knowledge and value systems to end the violence and other social issues that have plagued their communities and kept them from being completely safe. This may change.

These types of mobilization are not new; rather, they are ongoing processes that tribal nations have modified over centuries to survive, preserve, and thrive under conditions imposed upon them. It is community work that actively challenges systemic oppression and reminds us that our women and children need to be protected, while supporting the healing of our men.

Collectively, we can work towards a future where communities are free from violence; we must nurture these solutions with action and compassion.

For more information on resources that support survivors, visit: csvanw.org.

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