Ms. Foundation on Native American Heritage Day
NEW YORK (November 27, 2020) – Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger released the following statement on Native American Heritage Day:
“Today, The Ms. Foundation for Women recognizes Native American Heritage Day to honor and celebrate the rich cultures of Indigenous communities in the United States. We are dedicated to uplifting the Indigenous perspectives with authenticity and not the prejudicial narrative of our history.
“Native American women have continuously faced systemic racism, oppression, and decades of colonization. This community also faces higher rates of violence and sexual assault. According to the National Institute of Justice, it is estimated that 1.5 million American Indian and Alaskan Native women have experienced violence, including sexual abuse, in 2016. The Justice Department also found that women on reservations have been murdered at a rate more than ten times the national average. Further, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Native people are nearly three times more likely to contract the novel coronavirus than their white counterparts, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Despite these barriers, Indigenous communities have continued to fight to make their voices heard. This year, a record number of Native American female candidates were elected to Congress, including Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo member representing New Mexico; Sharice Davids, a Ho-Chunk Nation member representing Kansas; and Yvette Herrell, who is Cherokee. Stephanie Byers, who is Chickasaw, became Kansas’s first transgender lawmaker, and Christina Haswood, a member of the Navajo Nation, is the state’s youngest legislative member. We must celebrate this increased representation and continue to work together, so it translates into action.
“As we pay tribute and respect to the Indigenous community today, we recognize how much further we have to go to achieve equity for all. The Ms. Foundation will continue to fight alongside Indigenous peoples until systemic racism, oppression, and violence is dismantled for all.”
Ms. Foundation spokespeople are available for interviews by phone or video from NYC. To schedule, please contact Sunshine Sachs at MsFoundation@sunshinesachs.com.
For over 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in and strengthens the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in women’s lives. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world where every person’s worth and dignity are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.