2019 Chapter Meeting Minutes

Central Oregon Coast NOW Chapter Meeting Minutes

Newport Public Library

May 28, 2019

 

Board Members Present: Sheila Swinford, Marta West, CM Hall, Nancy Campbell Mead, Amy Greer
Folks in Attendance: Marion Warfield, Diane Pugh, Estrea Soto, Dianna Valenzuela, … Plus many others! (Approx #: 17)

Speaker: Deborah Maytubee Denton-Shipman, Director of MMIW

Remarks:

  • OR/WA — some of the most violent events occurred (Yakima tribe)
  • Chickasaw Nation of OK (Speaker) Chickasaw Warrior Clan. Had female warriors called Hatchet Women. Symbolizes strength.
  • Speaker went to Navajo tribal college. Noticed injustices. Every baby born in Navajo nation has uranium in their blood. USGS admitted to having uranium mines (~700 mines). As an urban indian not raised around that–not used to it. Raised on NM/AZ border.
  • Historical reference: The Manhattan Project — buying uranium on Rez land.
  • Tradition: Elders speaking — not to interrupt or to interrupt gently
  • On the rez there for 7 years. 4 folks murdered–2 men, 2 women. Wallace Weaver was killed. Sharon Gorman was killed. Sharon murdered 2 weeks after Wallace. These were the catalysts for starting Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
  • Speaker finished at PSU with a minor in conflict resolution and gender studies.
  • When doing internship, started a Facebook page to catalog those missing and the estimate was 800 women. The first year, passed 800. Now, looking at 5-6000 women murdered since 1999 across the US. Assumption was only in SW US, but heard about Yakima… and began research. Yakima is trying to get US Govt to do something. The US Govt claims to be listening, but nothing has happened.
  • Facebook page demonstrated gravity of the loss of these women–on every reservation. The reservations do not belong to the Tribes–they belong to the federal govt. There’s a misrepresentation that we own the tribes. No free money. No free land. There’s a high rate of cancer, murder, and folks dying. US Govt has not paid attention.
  • Because they are federal reservations, some have tribal police but can only take care of misdemeanors. FBI or BIA is charged with law enforcement. 20% of the murders go to court and are prosecuted. No one reports on these instances. The FBI finally warned but used the tribes’ terminology.
  • The Facebook page morphed… first year it was families. The families have been abandoned by law enforcement. One story of a family whose sister was killed 5 years ago. The FBI has called 2 times. This story repeats.
  • Carolyn deFord (an advocate), her mom has been missing 20 years in LaGrande.
  • OR State Police (now that law has passed), they’ll conduct a study. Now will push to investigate Carolyn’s mom missing.
  • Third year, the Facebook page became a non-profit and they buy tombstones and burial plots. Also pay electricity. Now, smarter to know to ask the questions about what the families are enduring (if they need help with paying a bill). Last week, for example, found a mom in Yakima. Families have to go through so much. Feels good to help the families get through this. Many never have had anyone ask about their child. We publish the stories on the Facebook page or website.
  • Family ancestry of speaker is Chickasaw and Spanish. Some is directly Irish. Spanish heritage, “Spanish blood” — where a Spanish man, Fernando Valenzuela went up and down the Mississippi River and met folks.
  • Story about Yakima: Violations against Yakima women/girls.
  • (Video) Violence towards Native women. Since 1855 (a pattern seen). Not often discussed in history books. Yakima War doesn’t mention this history. The erasure of women/girls is a living trauma. 1856 was the first MMIW report to Governor and Congress. No reports have ever been addressed with Yakimas. Govt doesn’t address that history. In the war, families fought against each other, but now in peace. In 1904 article, there were errors and it erased the women and girls. Many stories unpublished re. the women. Requested correction for the article 114 years later. Need to elevate stories of women, need to correct the record. Need to remember, honor, and hold space for the families and the women. For every person here, someone is not–because it’s too hard, or because they were taken. Sometimes told to wait when we ask.
  • The work is difficult — talking about the war from a Native woman.
  • “Be angry! Be mad. People don’t know. They’ll care, but they didn’t know it. The more people know, the more they care. We are grateful to allies who understand and support us. The tribes are matriarchal — some Plains indians are not matriarchal. But now we have representation in most every branch of the govt.”
  • Last Nov, 5 Native women were elected. They’re talking about this issue. There’s more info now out there, but still there’s such a volume of death, so it feels like it’s coming slowly. Awareness is growing, but so are the numbers.
  • There’s institutional and structural violence. On the reservation I lived on, there was little in the way of infrastructure. Only got Amber Alert last year. Two weeks ago, there was a 6-year old (Native child) who was abducted. Saw on video camera. Never issued an Amber Alert. That post went viral. A lot of sharing and a lot of anglo/white folks now on the page. They saw what happens. Little response for kids ⇒ little response for adults.
  • Most folks have 0-type blood. Now trafficking in people/human and fluids/blood.
  • Portland is a trafficking hub: bus, trains, port, airlines.
  • People who are in trafficking are making money. We are a commodity. Also trafficking dept has audio tapes talking about going on different reservation lands because “nothing is ever done about it”
  • Drugs are coming onto reservation unchecked. Domestic violence is another big issue.
  • In 1948, UN defined genocide. That definition–what’s happening to MMIW still fits. The systematic destruction of women–doesn’t stop. It’s not an exaggeration.
  • How to stop genocide? How to stop structural racism? How many more have to die?
  • There are a lot of gangs who have left CA for OR/WA, etc. and now the gangs have come onto the reservations. Also the drug cartels. Drug cartels don’t care.
  • For every woman murdered, there’s a murderer out there.
  • Pay attention to what happens in Yakima. People are terrified to talk to the police. Some things have happened with Tribal Police. They don’t like the speaker. Because she asks questions and speaks up.
  • Native women into spirituality and aware of different levels of consciousness. Different women have been seen as apparitions in their community.
  • MMIW had an event in early May at the Old Church. The doors kept flying open. Spirits of the missing girls were suspected to be opening the doors. You could see the spirits of Nez Perce women flying around.
  • Crime figures and crimes against Native people are not logged by law enforcement. No records.
  • Urban Institute in Seattle did a rough count of 546 who are missing. Some women are “mis-raced” (people assumed/perceived to be white or hispanic)
  • Speaker’s youngest son did 3 tours in Iraq as a Marine. Now a deputy sheriff in Jackson Co. Speaker told son to “do something safe.” Son replied, “Mom, why don’t you?”
  • 2013 Study and 2015 Study by Dept of Justice — have #’s: 8/10 women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Of those 8/10, 3/10 are murdered.
  • MMIW is doing own data collection. FBI looks at FB page for the activity of MMIW names. Efforts to ensure a database is started and every woman is logged. OSP is working to put a stop to it.
  • Mis-perceived folks as White. They have a CBID (Certified Blood of Indian Descent) ID card is shown.
  • Runaways are MMIW’s specialty.
  • Jurisdictional purview (i.e. 1 county — 5 jurisdictions)

What are we (MMIW) doing:

  • One of the things happening today is restoration of native languages. Speaker’s tribe was down to 70 fluent speakers. Now over 1,000 speakers. 2nd biggest tribal expenditure is language restoration. It’s healing.
  • Recognizing generational trauma is another part of the work. Passed down genetically.
  • Most Natives are lactose-intolerant. Many Natives cannot eat flour. Genetics doesn’t allow Natives to process alcohol. Stereotypes are results of being colonized and not being able to be who we were.
  • Began a preventative program at MMIW called Staying Sacred. First meeting was focused on trafficking. Some girls were approached online. Trafficking is through social media. Staying Sacred teaches self-defense. Also discusses social issues and generational trauma. Some issues are related to historical trauma. When Speaker started going to sociology classes, more of the trauma, history, and death around her made sense.
  • Average age of death of a Native man is 53 y/o. Speaker’s father passed at 62, brother at 58, sister passed in 40’s. several deaths = hard to restructure. Now family is chosen, not biological.
  • Family lives on a farm in Portland. Very utopian. Has view of large cedar tree.
  • HB2625 (OR) — Passed, was signed into law. Study that OSP will conduct. Different than WA law. When Rep. Tawna Sanchez worked on it, will gather input/data from other states to inform how study is conducted.
  • Rep Tawna Sanchez (Founder of NAYA). 70,000 Native folks in Portland. Mayor Ted Wheeler designated May 5th as MMIW Awareness Day (same day as Cinco de Mayo?!)
  • City of Portland has a Native liaison: Laura John.
  • In last 5 months, 3 Natives were missing, but all 3 were found. People were printing flyers and going out in packs to mall, to different places.
  • It takes money to do this work. We have some grants. All the money goes to the families. Operating with grant funds.
  • In MT: A woman found some blood-stained sweater and turned it over to BIA… and 2 years later, it was found.
  • Speaker asked NOW’s thoughts on abortion laws. NOW volunteered we support women’s control over their body. Speaker volunteered she was raped at age 14.
  • If crimes are committed on reservation land, they can go on to do something, and leave reservation land and the jurisdictional laws are vague/don’t apply
  • One case in MT, girl who was 14. Found a girl after 2 weeks — dead. Had been beaten. Told parents she died of exposure = no prosecution. This happens a lot.

New Speaker (niece of the main speaker):

  • This country is occupied illegally by ancestors. That system that ancestors built, set this up to complete the genocidal process. We are gathering data. Asking for help to pay for searches. Not until now that MMIW is a “trend.” But this has been going since settler colonialism. The history we learned in Western US is BS. But if you read Native authors, these settlers took Native women and cut out vaginas and put them on saddlehorn as a trophy. That’s why Native women don’t exist. Stereotypes of Natives: drug user, whore, drunken Indian… so what? It’s triggering to hear, “what can we do?” from white people.

Audience Remarks:

  • NOW needs to stand up for every woman, every child, regardless of culture and religious beliefs. We need you (Native women) and we want to do more to support your work/cause. We can empathize and feel your pain and be ashamed for being white, and we need you and together as women — we’re stronger. And we can make it better for all women.

Speaker:

  • We want you to be allies. It’s a horrible story. It’s still going on. VAW, Women’s Rights… we want to support that. But we don’t want anyone to lead us other than the Native folks.
  • MMIW doesn’t need White Savior attitude. We just want you with us. We don’t need to be saved. We’re saving ourselves. More women than just us who are doing this.
  • Countless families had to look for their own child cuz no one else would look for them. Others might chastise them because they may have “tampered with evidence.”
  • VAWA — almost just totally erased. Right after that, the abortion bans. These are attacks on women. We need to link arms and keep fighting. It just keeps going.

Audience Remarks:

  • Information and education is powerful.

Speaker Remarks:

  • American Center for Crime has stats. MMIW will name all the folks lost and found in their 2nd newsletter.
  • There’s a Facebook page: Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women (link)

Respectfully submitted,  

CM Hall, Secretary

Central Oregon Coast NOW Chapter Meeting Minutes

Newport Public Library

April 23, 2019

Sheila Swinford, President, called the meeting to order at 6:05 pm. In attendance were Marta West, Amy Greer, and Judy Bowman-Kreitmeyer. Members were joined by Ronnie and Eva, from My Sister’s Place, and Ronnie’s mom, Shannon. Members worked on Red Dress cutouts for our Redress display at Newport City Hall, 10:00 am, Sunday, May 5, while talking about My Sister’s Place and discussing future joint projects. We learned that MSP can serve 26 persons, adults and children, at a very well appointed home, with common areas and separate bedrooms for guests.

There will be an additional special Chapter Meeting on Thursday, May 30 at the Siletz Tribal Community Center in Siletz. NOW members and members of the Tribe will share a potluck dinner while learning more about tribal culture and history. 

Our regular May Chapter meeting on May 28 will feature a speaker or speakers from Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIWUSA), and hopefully the Siletz CARES program. 

The Meeting was adjourned at 7:10.
………………
Respectfully submitted,
Marta West, Vice-President

Central Oregon Coast NOW Chapter Meeting Minutes

Newport Public Library

March 26, 2019

Sheila Swinford, President, called the meeting to order at 6:10 pm.  In attendance were Nancy Mead, Marta West, Linda Aguirre, Margarita Lopez, Shay Keith, Amy Greer, and Cynthia Jacobi.  The anticipated multi-media presentation for Women’s Herstory Month did not materialize.

Instead members discussed the successful showing of the film documentary “Dolores” at Bijou Theatre in Lincoln City, which was attended by about 35 people and resulted in a donation of $210 to Centro de Ayuda.  Next time we select a third-party beneficiary, we should first determine whether the donation or publicity is welcomed by Donee. It was decided that NOW Foundation will reimburse Amy for her purchase of the video, and that we may try to have a showing in Newport.

Sheila reported on a recent environmental caucus and legislative progress, and on Ginger Gouveia’s Immigration program at OCCC March 15, sponsored in part by COC NOW Foundation. The group plans to pursue another immigration presentation in the Yachats area, and both events were well-attended.

The April 23 Meeting will be at the Siletz Tribal Community Center in Siletz; exact location to be confirmed.  As we cannot do a potluck with the public invited, Sheila and/or Nancy will discuss food options with Gilbert Schramm, and a specific program with Bud Lane.

Our May Chapter meeting will feature a speaker or speakers from Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIWUSA), and hopefully the Siletz CARES program.  There was enthusiasm for joining the “Red Dress” (redress) demonstration for Sunday, May 5, and locating a public space to display red dresses. It would need to be widely publicized, in print, flyers, media, KYAQ interviews, etc. through April.

Sheila advised Toledo Park is reserved for our annual picnic on Sunday, August 11.  Members agreed last year’s attendance was abysmal and uncoordinated and we need to be more organized this year.

There was a brief discussion on the status of the plastic bag ban and Ms. Jacobi was urged to support the ban.  Which she does.

Amy made a pitch for members to suggest local businesses who might be interested in underwriting KYAQ or specific programs and thanked the Foundation for the recent donation of $1000 to the station.  There was interest in doing a recurring program/interviews on KYAQ.

Nancy noted that the Board needs to be diligent about getting meeting notices into local media.  This meeting was not well-publicized and might account for the paucity of attendees.

The Meeting was adjourned at 7:20 and CM arrived at 7:30!

……………………………………………………………

Next Meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2019

at the Siletz Tribal Community Center, Siletz

……………………………………………

The NOW Foundation and Chapter Boards meet on May 13, 2019,

in the Conference Room of the Newport Public Library, at 5:30 p.m.

………………

Respectfully submitted,  

Marta West, for CM Hall, Secretary

 

Central Oregon Coast NOW Chapter Meeting Minutes

Newport Public Library

February 26, 2019

Sheila Swinford, President, called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Attendees introduced themselves. There was no Chapter business; rather the 10-12 attendees discussed action items, future programming and other fundraisers: 

The Chapter is in favor of expanding the OCCC Scholarship to award $1500/year, to TWO local college students for Fall, 2019. Amy Greer noted that the Scholarship applications would be provided to us shortly and that volunteers would be needed to review and make recommendations. 

There was consensus that COC NOW should become a member of or contribute to our local conservation groups.

For Women’s History Month (March) there was a suggestion that we select 31 notable females for recognition but this is a late start for such an ambitious project. Instead, we decided to pursue a program/project including interviews on KYAQ, to discuss a few local notables, as well as statewide and national figures. Our March 26, 2019 meeting will feature a multi-media presentation spearheaded by Amy, Val, Kim, Rebecca and Nell, to honor the women selected. Val, Rebecca, and Amy have prior involvement with Women’s History projects in other parts of the country.

Although it may not happen in March, Val will contact Betsy at Bijou Theatre to inquire about a private showing of “Dolores” (Huerta) the 2017 documentary. We discussed combining the showing with a Tea/Coffee at My Petite Sweet, for cupcakes, as a possible fundraiser, and to continue to recognize our foremothers throughout the year. 

In that vein, there was continued discussion of the asylum seekers emergency at the southern border and the desire of several to fundraiser or otherwise contribute to that cause. We will reach out to other local advocates to coordinate efforts, including Rev. Bob Barrett. 

Nell Austen agreed to be a/the Publicity Person for the Chapter going forward, so long as she is apprised of events and activities to publicize.

For the May Chapter meeting, the group also decided to enthusiastically welcome a presentation by MMIWUSA, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, jointly with the Siletz CARES program. Marta will confirm with Nancy to invite speakers. 

Members were invited to travel to Salem for International Women’s Day where NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon will sponsor a Day of Action at the Capital. Let Nancy Mead know if you’d like to participate. 

Members are invited to attend Ginger Gouveia’s Immigration program at OCCC March 15, sponsored in part by our Foundation. There may be follow-up at the March 26 meeting if time allows.
……………………………………………………………
Next Meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, 2019, Newport Public Library.
……………………………………………
The NOW Foundation and Chapter Boards meet on March 11, 2019, in the Conference Room of the Newport Public Library, at 5:30 p.m. 
All Members are welcome.
………………
Respectfully submitted,
Marta West, for CM Hall, Secretary.