NIWRC Celebrates 59th Presidential Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(LAME DEER, Mont., January 20, 2021)—The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) expresses support as the 46th President of the United States of America Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are sworn into office today, now representing a country deeply divided and in need of healing. As Native people, we know this healing will take time but is a crucial and necessary step to move the country forward together in a good way and restore relationships with each other.
NIWRC looks forward to engaging with the new Administration on issues affecting the safety of Native women and justice in Tribal communities. Throughout their campaign, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris stressed a commitment to upholding the United States federal trust responsibility to Tribal Nations, strengthening the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the U.S. government and Indian Tribes, and working to empower Tribes in governing and making decisions for their communities.
“We are hopeful the new Administration delivers on making Tribal Nations a priority and supports the healing and social change needed for Native people because our communities have a right to safety,” said NIWRC Executive Director Lucy Simpson, a citizen of the Navajo Nation. “As an Indigenous-led anti-violence organization, NIWRC will continue to advocate and elevate the voices of Tribes, Native women’s advocates, survivors, and families calling for safety and equal protection.”
In the U.S., Native women and children are more likely to be victimized by domestic violence, rape, abuse, and other violent crimes than any other racial or ethnic group. To break this cycle, President Biden has said he intends to partner with Tribes and Native women’s advocates to ensure the safety of Tribal communities, focus on ending violence against Native women and children, and address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. In 1990, then-Senator Biden first introduced the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Recognizing that upholding and strengthening tribal sovereignty is integral to addressing the ongoing violence in Indian country, Native advocates have continually pushed for VAWA to include restored tribal authority to protect Native women from abuse through key tribal amendments in 2005 and 2013.
“It is critical that our elected leaders prioritize the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to deliver long overdue justice to Native women and safety for tribal communities,” said Cherrah Giles, NIWRC Board Chairwoman, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. “These newly elected officials have a fresh opportunity to listen to and acknowledge the needs of Native women who have spoken truth time and again about all the violence that has happened to them and to turn all that pain into positive legislative change.”