Upcoming BHSU Geek Speak to Address Violence Against Native Women in North America -CANCELED


By Sheryl Holman
November 7, 2016

SPEARFISH…The Black Hills State University Geek Speak lecture Thursday, Nov. 10 will discuss the historic and cultural reasons behind the prevalence of violence against Native women in the U.S. and Canada.

Dr. Nikki Dragone, assistant professor of English at BHSU, will present “Violence Against Native Women Occurring at Epidemic Rates. What is Being Done?” Thursday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110. The event is free and open to the public.


Dr. Nikki Dragone, assistant professor of English at BHSU. Photo: BHSU

Violence against Native women has been occurring at epidemic rates for well over a hundred years in both Canada and the United States. According to Silver of a Full Moon, a playwright written by Mary Kathryn Nagle, an attorney and citizen of Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, one out three Native women will be raped during their lifetime and 60 percent of Native women will be assaulted in their lifetime in the U.S.

“In the U.S. legal protections for Native women who have been victimized physically and/or sexually were few and far between until the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was renewed in 2013,” says Dragone.

VAWA restored the authority of tribal governments to prosecute non-Native abusers who assault and abuse Native women on tribal lands. While VAWA offers some protections, violent acts like rape and sexual assault are still not covered, according to Dragone.

Furthermore, according to Dragone, twenty-three percent of violent crimes against Native women by Native men can be linked to inter-generational trauma resulting from the effects of oppression, including the boarding school system.

Dragone hopes to foster a discussion of what has been done in both the U.S. and Canada to protect Native women and what still needs to be done.

The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU University Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom. The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students to diversity within the disciplines.

For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, director of the University Honors Program and assistant professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email Courtney.HuseWika@BHSU.edu.

In addition to the on-campus presentations, some Geek Speaks will also be presented at the Jacket Zone store in downtown Spearfish. The following on-campus Geek Speak presentations, which are held Thursdays at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110, are scheduled for this semester:

● Nov. 17, “Supersymmetry, Superstrings and the quest for the Theory Of Everything,” Dr. Parthasarathi Nag, professor of math

● Dec. 1, The University Honors Student Capstone Defense

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