Voices of Indigenous women … still ‘crucial’

Women's March 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye)

Aliyah Chavez

The fourth annual Women’s March will happen in many cities this weekend

It was a cold January morning in 2017 when Indigenous women gathered in a prayer circle near the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Many of them traveled to the nation’s capital to participate in the first-ever Women’s March.

Indigenous women have made their voice heard in every Women's March — starting the day after President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated into office. Many dubbed that event an “anti-Trump” protest after he had taken controversial stances on women’s health and outraged many with his public statements against women.

On this day, women gathered in large numbers in nearly every major city in the country. Political scientists say more than 4 million protestors across the country took part.

Cities across America are preparing for this weekend’s Women’s March events. Many marches will occur on Saturday or Sunday with some scheduled at later times this year due to inclement weather. Washington had events planned this week leading up to the weekend.

[Related: Natives Join Women’s March in Reno]

Sarah Eagle Heart, Oglala Lakota, participated at the first protest in the nation’s capital. She is now a national board member of the Women’s March. She joined the organization in September as a result of a national nomination process.

“In 2017, Indigenous women demanded representation on the Women’s March steering committees as the first march was planned,” Eagle Heart wrote in a recent DailyKos article titled, “For the Women's March, including Indigenous voices is crucial.”

Eagle Heart played a role in organizing the event in Washington, D.C. this year. She is also collaborating with Sisters Rising, a campaign to celebrate women in 2020. This is a historic year for female voters as it has been 100 years since women were granted the right to vote in the United States.

“We will provide a forum for dialogue with Native American women today, and offer a cutting-edge grassroots platform for women to organize women in their communities to turn out voters in 2020,” said Eagle Heart.

In Phoenix, Taté Walker, Mniconjou Lakota and citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, is planning to attend the Women’s March rally on Sunday. It will occur on the lawn of the Arizona State Capitol.

Walker’s family has attended the event every year.

“It's important for me to share space with others who recognize and respect Indigenous feminine energies, lands, rights, and responsibilities, and this is one of the many ways we do that with the broader Phoenix community,” Walker said.

Many project that this year’s march may draw higher crowd numbers. Eagle Heart says she would encourage Indigenous people to partake this year because people need to fight together.

“As we enter this election year, we are dealing with a dangerous and reckless threat of war,” Eagle Heart said. “We must have a say in the future we want to live in, one where freedom is for everyone, without exception.”

Below are a handful of cities, organized alphabetically, holding women’s marches.Most events below occur on Jan. 18 or Jan. 19. Women’s marches in Houston, Oklahoma City and Seattle will not happen on these dates.

Albuquerque

     Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 12:00 PM

     Albuquerque Civic Plaza, 1 Civic Plaza NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

Anchorage

     Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 11:00 AM

     Cuddy Park, 201 E 40th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99503

Chicago

     Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 11:00 am

     Grant Park, 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL

Hilo

     Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 11:00 AM

     Mo’oheau Bandstand, 329 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, Hawaii, 96720

Houston

     Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 9:00 AM

     Cistern / Water Works, 105 Sabine, Houston, TX 77007

Los Angeles

     Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 10:00 AM

     Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90013

New York

     Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 10:30 AM

     Foley Square, Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013

Oklahoma City

     Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 10:00 AM

     Scissortail Park, 300 SW 7th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73109

Philadelphia

     Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 10:00 AM

     Philadelphia Art Museum, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Phoenix

     Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 10:00 AM

     Arizona State Capitol, 1700 W Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007

San Francisco

     Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 11:00 AM

     Civic Center, San Francisco, California 94102

Seattle

     Sunday, March 08, 2020 at 1:00 PM

     Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Sioux Falls

     Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 11:00 AM

     Multi-Cultural Center, 515 N. Main Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Washington, D.C.

     Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 9:00 AM

     Freedom Plaza, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C., DC 20004

For information on additional cities visit the Women’s March website.

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today's Phoenix Bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com

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