Why Is Ivanka Trump Taking Credit For Preventing Violence Against Indigenous Women?

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune/Getty Images.
Ivanka Trump, senior White House adviser and President Donald Trump’s daughter, attended the grand opening of the first Missing and Murdered Native American Cold Case office in Minnesota on Monday, July 27. The event also promoted the launch of six other task forces that will roll out over the next month, where each will be dedicated to solving the cases of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. Highlighting concern specifically for Indigenous women, Ivanka Trump said in tweets that the administration is dedicated to taking action. 
From the start, many criticized the event and Ivanka Trump’s involvement, with protesters calling it a photo opportunity and a stunt. A group of more than 50 people crowded outside of the new Missing and Murdered Native American Cold Case Office where Ivanka Trump spoke, according to reports. 
During the opening, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said that the violence against Indigenous people is an example of exactly why police departments and law enforcement should not be defunded. However, it still remains unclear who will be staffed in the task force locations or how they will include local tribal jurisdictions.
Democratic lawmakers and Indigenous women expressed concerns and skepticism that the Trump Administration is doing much to help, especially after failing to quickly provide COVID-19 relief to tribal nations in early 2020. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, said in a statement, "Donald Trump made a career demonstrating and celebrating behavior that perpetuates violence against Native women and girls.” 
Mary Kunesh-Podein, a Standing Rock Lakota descendant and the author of the bill that established Minnesota's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Task Force, said that Ivanka Trump’s sudden interest “feels disingenuous and smacks of manipulated political showcasing.” Violence against Indigenous women is not new. In fact, it’s been under-reported for years, but this appears to be the first time the Trump administration is attempting to address it. 
Ahead of the event, Kunesh-Podein had also tweeted that she was surprised to hear about Ivanka Trump’s visit given that no one told her, task force members, or the leaders in that community who have “worked to educate, acknowledge, relive the historical horrors of being trafficked, raped, beaten, killed with little or no recourse” about the event — and the actual Indigenous women from the community who have been doing the work hadn’t even been invited.
On the day of the launch, Native American and People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) caucus member Jamie Becker-Finn tweeted about it being disingenuous. “Donald Trump’s decades of hostility towards Indigenous people can’t be undone by sending Ivanka here for a media stunt. Using our people’s pain instead of meaningful engagement is just more silencing of Native voices,” she wrote.

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