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"Life in a Native American reservation is among the most hopeless I have ever witnessed as a reporter.
The most recent reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act, in 2013, expanded the protections of Native women, giving tribes jurisdiction to prosecute some domestic violence criminals in tribal courts.
Republican Congress members opposed the expansion, but eventually a bill with limited expansions was passed.
At the Oceti Sakowin camp on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation last year, Hope stood with thousands of others just like her.
Hope is part of a new generation of young Native American women who, by being at the frontlines of the activists’ movement unified in standing up for their rights, are overcoming the systemic challenges of poverty, substance abuse, mental health challenges, domestic and sexual violence, health and educational inequities, marginalization and racism.
They have scored a few political victories in recent years.
The activism, the passion, the march across campus: they are fueled with this fire, the memories of what happened in this building and before it — the violence of her childhood, the homelessness and poverty.
Hope’s identity as young Navajo activist is tied up in the trauma of growing up Native in the US today, with all of the systemic challenges and inequities that brings.
Together, they are standing together with a message that Native people deserve to be heard.
And for a change, the world finally seems to be hearing them. C., this week, thousands of Native Americans, including Hope, are descending for the Native Nations March, from the National Mall to the White House.