Andreanne Catt speaks at the Women's March 2018 in Rapid City, SD.

My name is Andreanne Catt. I am 18 years old. I am Sicangu Lakota. These black hills are where my ancestors comes from. These black hills are my home.. I’m speaking here on behalf of Seeding Sovereignty, and the IIYC.

Now, I’m my experience people don’t listen to me.

Because I am small.

Because you can’t see me.

Because I am brown.

Because I practice my cultural ways.

Because I know who my ancestors are.

They don’t see me because

Because I am a woman.

Because I can carry life inside of me.

Because I am not “girly” enough,"

Because I am a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Because some days I do not identify as “she or her” I am just Andreanne.

South Dakota passes “religious liberty” law allowing adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples. Which means if my girlfriend and myself want to adopt a baby there is a chance we can not just because we are the same gender. I am very proud of who I am. I will never be something I am not. I am a strong, resilient Lakota Woman.

But now that you know who I am, let me tell you something about my people.

 

Over 90 percent of Native American women have experienced some sort of violence at the hands of a non-tribal member. 86% of those women are sexually assaulted by a non-tribal member. 1 in 3 native women is sexually assaulted. Tribal courts can't try non-Native individuals, which means non-natives can commit crimes on Native American land—including sexual assault—with virtually zero consequence. Which means even if the women come forward there’s a HUGE HUGE change that the people who assaulted her will not be convicted.

I have no statistic for how many Native American women are missing or murdered because there is no registry for Native American women. In the US there is one for every other race in this country. 2010 census says Native Americans make up 1.7 percent of the US population.

 

Now, where I’m going with this is I know that my people and I and my people make up such a small small small part of this country’s population, but I am asking you to hear me today. Hear the pain in my voice as I speak for my people. Hear the words that I am saying to you. Remember them. BECAUSE WE ARE STILL HERE.

 

Ask us to your tables, when you are having these hard conversations. Share that Facebook post for that PERSON who’s been missing for 4 minutes, 4 weeks, 4 months, 4 years. My people are 2x more likely to be killed than any other race in this country. I am asking you, if you see something if you hear something if you are capable of helping, then do it.

 

I NEVER plan to let my voice go quite. I never plan to stop speaking for my people. But I am only one person up here. I have one voice.  I speak for me, I speak for my mom, I speak for my nieces, I speak for my future granddaughters, and their future granddaughters, in hope that one day, my women don’t have to be abused anymore.

I see so many beautiful women in this crown that plan to use their voices for the women.When you are afraid, look to your sisters. It is okay to be scared.But I am asking you to never stop fighting for your rights. Never stop fighting for equality, never stop being the strong women you are. Don’t resist out of violence. Lead with love. Lead with love for your people. Lead with love for your sisters.

Because violence against one woman is violence against all women. If we don’t speak up for us, who will?

Link to Facebook Video: https://www.facebook.com/lauren.howland.587/videos/vb.100009695320074/572026416463864/?type=3

Andreanne Catt