By Christine Nobiss
Summary: President Trump’s MMIWG executive order is problematic because it is contradicted by actions that do not match intent to serve Indigenous Peoples with integrity. While in office, Trump has supported misogynistic and racist legislation, acts and people, for example, with his appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court or having Steve Bannon (known white supremacist) serve in his White House as Chief Strategist. This administration continues to uplift a White supremacist, heteropatriarchal agenda by holding VAWA hostage, diminishing Native American Heritage Month, targeting Indigenous migrants, ignoring LGBTQIA+ and Two-Spirit issues, belittling the #MeToo movement, perpetuating harmful institutions like man-camps through the support of fossil fuel extraction, and continuously voting “no” on legislation that will benefit the Native American population.
On November 26, 2019, President Donald Trump released an executive order to establish “Operation Lady Justice – an interagency task force charged with developing an aggressive, government-wide strategy to address the crisis of missing and murdered women and girls in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.” This order was released just six months after Trump proclaimed May 5, 2019, as Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day. The task force is co-chaired by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and Attorney General William Barr who are both white males. Besides Bernhardt and Barr, there are seven others on the task force with just two Indigenous members, Jean Hovland and Tara Sweeney.
The executive branch followed up with a more substantial action after making the May 5th proclamation but the sociopolitical climate surrounding these moves makes less sense. Though it seems like a step towards right recognition of a long-ignored crisis it is hard to find the sincerity since Trump has ridiculed the #MeToo movement and Indigenous womxn during the time of his presidency. His administration has also not been a true advocate of ending domestic violence nor been an ally to Indigenous Peoples as a whole with rollbacks to VAWA, reversing Obama era frameworks to uphold American treaty obligations to tribal nations and decreasing protections to Indigenous lands.