United States Government to offer public apology to Native American Women.
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We call for justice for the thousands of Native American women who were victims of forced or coerced sterilization practices.
It is estimated over a twenty-year period between 1960 and 1980 that tens of thousands of Native American women were sterilized without their knowledge or consent. Due to poor record keeping during this era the exact number will never be known. Many of these women went to their graves having suffered this incredible abuse of power. We will petition the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to introduce a bill calling for a public apology to the individuals and their Tribal Nations.
We ask individuals around the world to stand by the victims of this horrific abuse by signing our petition.
Reports of forced sterilization of Native American women began to surface in the 1970s.* Of the 100,000 to 150,000 Native American women of childbearing age during this period experts estimate up to 70,000 of these women were involuntarily sterilized through tubal ligation or hysterectomy.* Many women were not given a choice to refuse to undergo the sterilization procedure and some were even coerced into signing consent forms, making it appear that they had willing given consent. Recent evidence has suggested that the sterilization procedure was often carried out under the pretence of other operations, routine check ups or during emergency surgery relating to pregnancy or abortion when the women were experiencing high stress. Many of the victims didn't know they were sterilized until years afterwards.
There is further evidence that the sterilizations had an appreciable effect on the fertility rates of Native American women. In the 1970s, the average birth rate of Native American women was 3.79 children, but by 1980 the birth rate had fallen to 1.8 children.*
These practices have adversely affected many Native communities contributing to high rates of suicide, depression, alcoholism, family trauma and personal shame. The time is now for these women to be listened to and for the United States government to recognize and apologize for the pain and suffering caused by these practices.
* "Investigation of Allegations Concerning Indian Health Service". Government Accountability Office. November 4, 1976. Addressed to the Honorable Senator James Abourezk.
* Sally Torpy, “Endangered Species: Native American Women’s Struggle for Their Reproductive Rights and Racial Identity, 1970 to 1980s” (Master’s Thesis, University of Nebraska, Omaha, 1998.)
* Lawrence, Jane (2000). "The Sterilization of Native American Women". American Indian Quarterly.
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