Alaska is home to 229 federally recognized tribes. Of those tribes operating within some 200 rural Alaska Native villages, only 78 are served by local state law enforcement. Native women in Alaska suffer the highest rates of sexual assault in the United States; an Alaska Native woman is sexually assaulted every 18 hours.

Six Native people living in Alaska — Sam Alexander (Gwich’in), Princess Lucaj (Gwich’in), Allan Hayton (Gwich’in), Jessica Black (Gwich’in), Sarah James (Gwich’in), and David Farley (Omaha) — reflect on the meaning of Native love for a joint project of the Indian Law Resource Center and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. The project is raising awareness about the epidemic levels of violence against Native women and aims to spur dialogue and positive change to help end this crisis and restore safety to Native women.

 

I am a black Cherokee. I feel like I don’t fit in with my indigenous side, and I am ashamed that I don’t know much of the culture. Even so, being a black Cherokee is tough to fit in since most don’t accept them. What should I do to feel more native? What should I do to feel pride on both sides of me?

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