Sliver of a Full Moon— A play depicting indigenous women’s rights to be protected from violence and discrimination to be staged for world leaders.
On Sunday, September 21, 2014, hundreds will gather at the U.N. Chapel to witness the New York premiere of Sliver of a Full Moon, including Ambassadors, members of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, White House staff, media, policy analysts, foundations, and non-profits from all over the world. The event will be recorded and streamed live on HowlRound.com.
The Center is co-presenting Sliver of a Full Moon, the story of a movement to restore safety and access to justice to American Indian and Alaska Native women in the United States. It documents the grassroots movement leading up to the historic 2013 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA 2013”)—an affirmative step forward by the United States towards restoring safety to Native women and sovereignty to Indian tribes to address certain violent crimes by non-Indians on Native lands.
Sliver of a Full Moon is specifically being staged alongside the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples taking place Sept. 22-23.
According to Jana Walker, attorney and director of the Indian Law Resource Center’s Safe Women, Strong Nations project, “the World Conference offers an unprecedented opportunity to raise global awareness and urge the United Nations and international community to combat violence against indigenous women not only in the United States, and particularly in Alaska, but also worldwide. Though violence against women is a pervasive human rights issue, the situation for indigenous women is even more dire.”
Millions of indigenous women worldwide suffer disproportionately high and multiple forms of discrimination and violence not only because they are women, but also because they are members of indigenous communities.
The enactment of VAWA 2013 is critical for American Indian and Alaska Native women. “One in three Native women will be raped in her lifetime, and six in ten will be physically assaulted," said Lucy Simpson, Executive Director of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. Simpson added that, “even worse, on some reservations, the murder rate for Native women is ten times the national average.”
The majority of the perpetrators of violence against Native women are non-native, yet, for over three decades discriminatory United States law stripped all Indian nations of their inherent authority to protect their own women, children, and communities from such violence. In 1978, the Supreme Court declared that American Indian Nations could no longer exercise jurisdiction over non-natives who commit crimes on tribal lands. (Oliphant v. Suquamish, 435 U.S. 191).
VAWA 2013 is a step in the right direction, but in the words of survivor Lisa Brunner, it is only “a sliver of a full moon of what’s needed to really protect us.” Legal gaps remain. VAWA 2013 does not restore tribes’ jurisdiction to prosecute rape and murder. Section 910 of the Act also exempts 228 of the 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska from the new protections. “This exemption is especially devastating,” explains Lenora (Lynn) Hootch, Director of the Yup’ik Women’s Coalition, Board member of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc., and Co-Chair of the National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women. “Alaska has the highest rate of sexual assault in the country, and the rate of violence against Alaska Native women is more than double that of any other population of women.”
Sliver of a Full Moon’s cast features three courageous Native women who stepped forward to publicly share their stories of abuse by non-Indians and counter staunch opponents to the tribal provisions—Diane Millich (Southern Ute), Lisa Brunner (White Earth Ojibwe), and Billie Jo Rich (Eastern Band Cherokee). Professional actors will join them to portray Congressman Tom Cole, Eastern Band Cherokee Councilwoman Terri Henry, and Tulalip Tribe’s Vice-Chairwoman Deborah Parker. And, for the first time ever, Sliver of a Full Moon will feature the stories of women survivors and advocates from Alaska, including Lenora (Lynn) Hootch, Joann Horn, Priscilla Kameroff, Nettie Warbelow, and Tami Jerue.
About the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center:
Contact: Lucy Simpson, Executive Director
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) is a nonprofit organization that provides technical assistance, policy development, training, materials, and resource information for Indian and Alaska Native women, Native Hawaiians, and Native non-profit organizations addressing safety for Native women. The NIWRC’s primary mission is to restore safety for Native women. For more information, visit www.niwrc.org.
About the Indian Law Resource Center:
Contact: Ginny Underwood, Communications Director
The Indian Law Resource Center is a nonproﬁt legal and advocacy organization that provides assistance without charge to help indigenous peoples throughout the Americas protect their lands, resources, human rights, environment, and cultural heritage. Its principal goal is the preservation and well-being of Indian and other Native nations and tribes. The Center’s Safe Women, Strong Nations project works to end the epidemic levels of violence against Indian and Alaska Native women in the United States by raising awareness of this issue nationally and internationally, by strengthening Indian nations in restoring safety to Native women, and by assisting national Native women's organizations and Indian nations on restoring tribal criminal authority. For more information, visit www.indianlaw.org.
About the National Congress of American Indians:
Contact: Natasha Anderson
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments. As the collective voice of tribal governments in the United States, NCAI is dedicated to ending the epidemic of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women. In 2003, NCAI created the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women to address and coordinate an organized response to national policy issues regarding violence against Indian women. The NCAI Task Force represents a national alliance of Indian nations and tribal organizations dedicated to the mission of enhancing the safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.
About Intersections International
Intersections International is dedicated to building respectful relationships among diverse individuals and communities to forge common ground and develop strategies that promote justice, reconciliation, and peace. They are a multi-cultural, multi-faith, global initiative of the Collegiate Church of New York, the oldest corporation in North America dating back to 1628, just two years after the “sale” of Manahatta to the Dutch West India Company. For more information, visit: http://www.intersectionsinternational.org
About the Gray Panthers:
Gray Panthers at the United Nations has been extremely active advocating for social justice and peace throughout the world. Gray Panthers holds official nongovernmental organization (NGO) status at the United Nations and represent “Civil Society”—the real people. The work that our delegation does at the UN plays such an integral and significant role in expanding advocacy efforts on a global scale.