May 4, 2020
LANSING, MI--The Michigan Women’s Commission today issued the following statement from Cheryl Bergman, Executive Director of the Michigan Women’s Commission, in commemoration of the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
“The Michigan Women’s Commission joins in solidarity with tribal, regional, state and national governments and organizations to raise awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls on May 5 and all year around,” said Bergman. “We recognize the rich history and contributions of the twelve federally recognized Indian tribes that have lived upon this land since time immemorial, and the importance of protecting and supporting our Native peoples. On this first Tuesday of May, we stand with the Native women in Michigan and beyond in support of greater awareness and visibility of this horrible disparity and remain in solidarity with those impacted by these tragedies in the state of Michigan, the United States and in Canada.”
A report from the NCAI Policy Research Center finds that American Indians and Alaska Natives are two and a half times as likely to experience violent crimes, and at least twice as likely to experience rape or sexual assault crimes, compared to all other races.
A National Institute for Justice study reports more than half of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes, and ninety percent of these women report being victimized by a non-Indian perpetrator.
U.S. Department of Justice research also shows that some tribal communities in the United States face murder rates of American Indian women that are more than 10 times the national average. The report also explains that investigating cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls is made difficult for tribal law enforcement agencies due to a lack of resources and the complex jurisdictional scheme that exists in Indian Country.
The 15-member Michigan Women's Commission was created by statute in 1968. Commission duties include reviewing the status of women in Michigan, directing attention to critical problems confronting women, recommending ways of overcoming discrimination, enabling women to develop skills, conducting surveys, and recognizing women's accomplishments and contributions to Michigan. Commissioners are appointed by the Governor and serve three-year terms. To learn more about the Michigan Women’s Commission, go to michigan.gov/mwc.