Ute Tribe marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month
On April 4, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of Towaoc CO, signed an Honorary Proclamation and Recognition of Native American Sexual Assault awareness month.
This proclamation was brought to the Ute Mountain Ute Council by Toniee Lewis of the Hands Down, Standing Strong Advocacy Program based out of White Mesa, which is on the Ute reservation, along with the Healing From Within Program of Towaoc, CO.
This proclamation was to bring awareness of sexual assaults within Indian country and on Ute Mountain Ute Tribal lands.
Restoring Ancestral Winds of Salt Lake helped Toniee and Norma gain the momentum to bring the proclamation to the UMUT council in which Toniee and Timothy Root (Recidivism / Victim Service Director of Towaoc) presented the proclamation to the UMUT Councilmembers for voting.
Ute tribal member Sliverton House-Whitehorse mentioned, “That this is a day of celebration for all our tribal members”.
Four in five American Indian and Alaska Native women (84.3 percent) have experienced violence in their lifetime and one in two (56.1 percent) have experienced sexual violence.
There are limited resources in Indian Country that serve victims of violence and their children, and provide safety and victim assistance; and sexual violence breaks the core of the human spirit and jeopardizes the future and wellbeing of our tribal members and communities;
Native women are among the most vulnerable, suffering the highest rates of sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking; and can have life-long consequences emotionally, mentally, socially and physically;
Everyone has a right to be safe and ending sexual violence requires the leadership of survivors, support of tribal leaders and collaborative efforts of law enforcement, tribal justice systems, public health officials, tribal programs and our community members.
It is important that everyone shares a strong message that sexual violence is unacceptable and not our tradition as Indigenous people; and
Sexual violence remains one of the most prevalent, yet underreported crimes in the U.S. and in Indian Country; therefore, be it resolved, that the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Hands Down Standing Strong Program Advocacy Program in which Toniee Lewis help built from the ground up in White Mesa, along with “Tú éí N nág ít” (Healing From Within) proclaims the month of April to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month, recognizing survivors of sexual violence and advocates and others that serve them during April, that we stand united in our commitment to end all forms of sexual violence in Indian Country and within the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.
Now, Therefore, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe does hereby proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We call upon Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Council members, law enforcement, tribal organizations, health officials and all community members to speak out against sexual violence and support efforts within our Tribe to assist victims of violence and the healing they seek, and return our Tribe to ways of respect, compassion, and safety.
Bringing sexual assault awareness is sometimes considered taboo to speak of or notify anyone of an assault. Toniee Lewis is hoping to stop this taboo and gain support helping those who have gone through such a traumatic ordeal within Indian country.
Unfortunately, sexual assaults are not only happening to women but to our LGBTQ members, children, males and elderly. We hope by this proclamation is to help other Tribes follow lead.