At TEDxABQWomen, an independent TED event held December 1, Whisper Kish, a representative of INSPIRE HIV Prevention: Initiative of Native Sisters Preventing Infectious Risks through Empowerment, delivered a powerful, poetic message inciting mankind to stand up against the exploitation and undermining of self-determination of Native women. Her courageous words are a wake-up call to acknowledge the true history of the U.S., starting with the subjugation of Native women at the hands of colonialism.
In her own words:
“Native women experience the highest rates of sexual violence in the United States, serving as the race of women who are disproportionately raped by a race not their own. We must move beyond simply acknowledging that sexual violence against Native women exists, and become accountable to the reason why; the root cause emanating from the inherent relationship between American colonialism and it’s perpetual assault upon Native women’s self-determination through unprecedentedly brutal sexual violence. -A relationship that enabled the original formation, and now, ongoing preservation of this country. This piece stresses, however, that this is not a ballad petitioning for pity. This is a call to action to become accountable to the original mothers and daughters of this land.” –Whisper
Watch Whisper’s TED Talk here:
At the time Whisper gave her TED Talk, Indian country was still urging Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act with new provisions to protect Native women. On February 12, the Senate voted 78-22 to approve the act that would give tribal courts jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit crimes of violence on Indian lands.