Nov 1, 2012

American Indian Heritage Month

Melanie Benjamin, chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, presented the Cultural Thursday program at Central Lakes College in Brainerd Nov. 1, commemorating National American Indian Heritage Month. The focus of her talk was violence against Indian women and efforts to enable tribal law enforcement to protect those who are abused within reservation jurisidctions. She said Indian country is experiencing epidemic rates of violence against Native American women, actually exceeding rates being reported against women globally. Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be assaulted than any other group of women in the country. The murder rate for Native women is 10 times the national average on some reservations. She cited efforts by area law enforcement agencies to improve safety, pointing out that the majority of crimes against Indian women are committed by non-Indians.She urged passage of a stronger Violence Against Women Act. Information is available at