Violence Against American Indians: What Are the Implications?

This morning, the Buechner Breakfast First Friday, an event organized monthly by the applied research arm of the Public Affairs program at CU Denver, hosted panelists to discuss the high rates of violence experienced by American Indian communities.

Professor Callie Rennison of CU Denver’s Public Affairs program discussed the fact that American Indians are at least twice more likely than any other group in the US to experience violence, according to 2003-2013 statistics of non-fatal violent victimization rates. This led to a discussion of (the lack of) trauma informed services, and the importance of culturally sensitive and historically rooted responses to both American Indian victims and perpetrators of violence. More often than not, American Indians’ experience of generational trauma leads to decreased trust of and reporting to police, low rates of utilization of resources connected to victim services, and revictimization of American Indians dealing with institutions created to respond to violence.

Dennis Swain, Executive Director or the Denver Indian Family Resource Center, talked about the power of access to culture for American Indians for successful outcomes when responding to trauma, as this promotes overall well-being. Issues of American Indians being a part of communities that are often misidentified, undercounted, and viewed as too small or complex of a population need to change to begin addressing the high rates of victimization of community members.

Discussion around these issues will be continued this Monday, October 12, 2015 at the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day. Click here for more information about events and key note speakers.