Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women/Girls in North Carolina
Crystal Cavalier with Civil Rights Attorney Alan McSurley at Greensboro's Poor People's Campaign Sept 2019.
Why do we need to care about Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls? In May 2019, I was a co-organizer for the MMIW March in Raleigh, NC. I want to continue the call in lifting up Native women whose voices have too long gone unheard. The truth is: Native women face a much higher danger in their everyday life than white women. Indigenous women are subject to dramatically higher rates of sexual violence than white women. One in three Native women in the U.S. has been raped in her lifetime. Three in five has been physically assaulted. And the rate of Native women and girls who go missing annually is nothing short of disturbing. I want to let everyone know that, we on the east coast, were mainly a matriarchal society. However, when the colonists came, they didn't like talking to the women, so we had to allow our men to conduct business, and today the US is very patriarchal. Sexual and physical violence is not part of traditional Native norms. These camps are everywhere around where oil or coal or mines. Also a draw for drugs and human trafficking.The cause for this is the camps of thousands of male workers who have come to their territory to profit from the pipelines, settling into what are commonly called “man camps”, and more than doubling the population with an influx of workers not from the community. Women are the creators of life. We carry that water that creates life just as Mother Earth carries the water that maintains our life. So I’m happy to see our people standing here but remind you that when you stand for one, you must stand for the other. I am a member of the state-recognized tribe in Alamance County, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation. I am speaking for myself and am not representing the tribe. However, I am one of many Native voices. The Sissipihaw, Eno, Saura, Saponi, Shakori, Occaneechi and many more used to live here. The 1986 Alamance County Archaeological Survey Project mentioned only a few of the Native American burial sites in the county. The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate extension and construction through the northern part of Alamance County will destroy any remaining Native artifacts, burial mounds and ancestors left there.
May 2019 - Missing Murdered Indigenous Women's March Raleigh, NC
In 1701, settler John Lawson traveled through the Piedmont area. Lawson described the land as “extraordinarily rich” and said that no man could have any reason to dislike it. He recorded 27 species of mammals, including buffalo, elk, wolf and panther. (Those species have died out of this area.) He said that the Haw River was named for the "Sissipahau Indians who dwell upon this Stream." Their path became known as the Great Trading 21 Path, and it ran from Fort Henry in Virginia to cross Haw River near the present town of Swepsonvile. As we have seen all colonizers do time and time again, the proposed MVP will largely follow the Native American trading path down the Haw River. Everyone who lives in Alamance County has a duty to protect the path. Alamance County should be known for its rich Native American history; however, it will not be. It will be known as the county that let the MVP through, all to benefit the corporations. Today, as a American Indian in the Southeastern United States, I recognize that women-based violence is a symptom of colonialism, Just like unethical policy making or undoing of governmental policy has resulted in extreme pollution of Native lands and left people of color communities stuck in a cycle of violence. I am standing up for the people who choose to look the other way and for my future generations to come. Crystal Cavalier Keck