In April of 2015, a Native American woman, Edith Chavez, 38, of Tower, Minnesota was kidnapped, drugged and held for days while on a trip to Casselton, North Dakota. According to Chavez, a man snuck up behind her and knocked her unconscious.
“He picked me up right off the ground,” said Edith, “He was very strong, and I couldn’t get away. There was a white flash and then I don’t remember.”
A few days later, lost in a fog from being drugged by her abductor, Edith awoke to the sound of a dinging tone from an open car door. She found herself in the back of a beat up Honda Accord with a missing back window. This was her chance for escape, as her kidnapper was outside of the vehicle.
“I tried to run,” she said, but her vision was blurry. Luckily for Edith, however, she managed to escape into a steep ditch where her abductor would not pursue her.
Although Edith had escaped her captors, her ordeal was far from over. She found herself in a remote part of North Dakota, alone, and without food or water. She would wander for two days before finding civilization.
Finally, Edith made it to a police station in Williston, North Dakota, where she hoped she would receive help. But help was the last thing Edith received from police that day.
Instead of taking her statement, police ran her record and found a 4-year-old unpaid traffic ticket and threw her in a cell. She was then transferred to a jail in Minot, North Dakota.
This poor woman had just been kidnapped, drugged, and nearly killed, and when she finally thought she was going to get some help, she was kidnapped again — this time by those who claim to keep her safe.
Luckily for Edith, when a female officer, with a sense of humanity, saw her the next day in her cell, she noticed something was very wrong. The officer had Edith’s charges dropped and she was brought to the closest hospital. Had Edith Chavez stayed another night in that jail, should could have very well died – and nobody would have said a thing.
Edith never received help from the police and instead of apologizing for throwing a distressed, beaten, and victimized woman into a cage, police issued a press release in June claiming Chavez had smelled of alcohol and had been to a casino. However, this was clearly contrived as none of this information had been noted in the day log or the Uniform Incident Report registering Chavez’s arrest.
Edith Chavez’s case is far from isolated.
“It’s pretty much ignored when Native women go missing,” said Carmen O’Leary to the Guardian, who runs the Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains, a tribal coalition that focuses on issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, and sex trafficking.
Since last May, in Minnesota alone, three Native American women have been killed, and two more have disappeared and police continue to ignore their cases.
Many of these women and young girls fall victim to traffickers who prey on their vulnerability and the fact that police neglect to investigate their disappearances.
According to a report out of the Guardian,
A recent spate of cases involving Native American women from northernMinnesota being murdered or going missing has raised questions about how seriously such disappearances are taken by the police and other authorities.
As Duluth, Minnesota, marks trafficking awareness month, local activists say some of the disappearances and deaths are linked to this issue, and argue that the invisibility of the Native American population contributes to neglect by police, media and social services and point to the need for better data collection in order to track the number of missing and murdered women.
Police ignoring Native Americans is nothing new, nor is the fact that police kill Native Americans at a higher rate than any other group in America.
As the Free Thought Project previously reported, the racial group most likely to be killed by law enforcement is Native Americans. While Native Americans only make up 0.8 percent of the population, they make up 1.9 percent of all police killings.
According to a report by the Lakota People’s Law Project,
Despite gaining citizenship rights in 1924, Native Americans have yet to see the day that they enjoy benefits of a nation which boasts “liberty and justice for all.”
Unsettling reports of unfair treatment towards Native peoples by law enforcement are not isolated incidents—rather they are endemic of a deeply discriminatory justice system. Native American men are admitted to prison at four times the rate of white men and Native women at six-fold the rate of white women. Additionally, Native Americans are the racial group most likely to be killed by law enforcement.
Native American children are also frequent victims of the state as a recent report from TruthOut exposed last year. According to the report, in South Dakota, Indigenous children make up 15 percent of the child population, but comprise more than half the children in foster care.
In order to profit off of the kidnapping of these children, South Dakota has claimed 100% of its foster children as ‘special needs’ for the past ten years in order to reel in extra money. The child “protective” system in South Dakota is incentivized by a $79,000 bonus per Native child.
— Lakota Law Project (@lakotalaw) June 29, 2015
The situation is nothing short of modern day slavery and murder, yet the media is silent. Why?
The answer to that question is not a simple one. However, one potential aspect of why the media and the government do not address the disproportionate targeting of natives by the state, is that it’s not divisive enough.
The Black Lives Matter movement has been used by the government and MSM to stoke a level of divide which hasn’t existed in this country since the days of Jim Crow. This divide is a necessary function of controlled media and it’s an essential part of the state’s existence.
#NativeLivesMatter doesn’t foster the same divide, therefore it’s not important to the establishment. However, it is important to those of us who care about the suffering and death of our fellow humans.
The good news is that through the power of social media, together we can shed light on these injustices. By sharing these stories and the work of the Lakota People’s Law Project, we can help to change this paradigm.
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world.