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Nationally, violence against Indigenous women is a constant threat. According to the National Institute of Justice, four out of five (84.3%) of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime. This includes more than half (56.1%) who have experienced sexual violence, plus more than half (55.5%) of Native women who have endured physical violence by an intimate partner. The vast majority (96%) of Native female victims of sexual violence experienced violence at the hands of a non-Native perpetrator (ex. individuals of other races).
For the past decade, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) has worked to provide national leadership to help end gender-based violence by lifting the voices of survivors, Tribes, Tribal programs, and grassroots advocates working to end violence in Indigenous communities through culturally based responses and the strengthening of Tribal sovereignty. Collectively, NIWRC offers culturally grounded resources, technical assistance and training, and policy development to support Native advocates and survivors, and Tribal governments in prioritizing the safety of Native women and their children and requiring accountability of offenders and communities. This includes highly specialized and culturally specific training, advocacy, and programmatic and policy development in the areas of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, stalking, and sex trafficking.
Every two years, staff organize a national conference, the Women Are Sacred Conference (WAS), one of the largest gatherings of Tribal domestic violence programs, advocates, survivors, Tribal leaders, and community members, law enforcement, and Tribal court personnel dedicated to ending violence against Indian women and children. WAS offers training opportunities and presentations by established and emerging Indigenous leaders and experts in the movement to end the violence on various topics to support Tribal nations, Tribal domestic violence programs, and Tribal community-based programs.
NIWRC’s efforts have helped drive attention to and provide resources in response to violence against Native women and children. As the movement gains ground in raising awareness of the issues of violence in Indian Country across the country, NIWRC remains consistent in ensuring that any responses to gender-based based violence including missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) are grounded in addressing the root causes of violence: Colonization and genocide.
Staff continually work with policymakers on important legislation to address the MMIW crisis, an issue that has deep roots in colonization of Indigenous lands and nations. Inhumane federal Indian policies have resulted in the loss of Indigenous lives and diminished the inherent sovereign authority of Indian Tribes. NIWRC’s work involves bringing awareness to MMIW through its National Week of Action for MMIW campaign and advocating for the end of this horrific crisis. With Native women and Tribal voices leading the way, we can put an end to the crisis of missing and murdered Native women in this generation.
One of the latest initiatives taken on by the NIWRC is its Tribal Safe Housing Center. After years of grassroots advocacy to raise awareness and provide support for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women impacted by the intersection of gender-based violence and housing instability, NIWRC is establishing a Tribal Safe Housing Center this year. The center will work to ensure safety and belonging through Indigenous lifeways and dismantle systemic and endemic barriers that impact housing access for survivors. Staff will accomplish this by elevating culturally-rooted resources, practices, and policies, and centering survivors with lived experience, for real social change. It will also work across the housing spectrum and will prioritize the housing needs of all our relatives, including youth, elders, Natives with disabilities, Two-spirit relatives, and other intersectional identities.
Learn: Our Policy Center includes the latest legislative updates and policy resources including our magazine, Restoration of Native Sovereignty and Safety for Native Women, a publication dedicated to informing Tribal leaders, advocates, and communities of emerging issues impacting the safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women.
Explore our Resource Library for webinars, resource materials, awareness resources, and training curriculum.
Connect: For technical assistance, information, or a consultation, please submit a request on our website. We also encourage you to follow with NIWRC on social media:
We are feeling renewed hope and confidence in the work and actions that lie ahead. Change is possible, and we look forward to continually working alongside our survivors, grassroots advocates, and Indigenous communities in this work. We are with you each step of the way.