Women of All Red Nations
Women of All Red Nations (WARN) was a Native American women's organization. It was established in 1974 by Lorelei DeCora Means, Madonna Thunderhawk, Phyllis Young, Janet McCloud, and others. WARN included more than 300 women from 30 different tribal communities. Many of its members had previously been active in the American Indian Movement and were participants in the 1973 Wounded Knee incident. The inaugural conference took place in Rapid City, South Dakota.
WARN championed the health of Native American women, the restoration and securing of treaty rights, eliminating Indian mascots for sports teams, and combating the commercialization of Indian culture. They highlighted the high rates of health issues caused by nuclear mining and storage on Indian land, such as birth defects, miscarriages and deaths. They also expressed concerns about forced sterilization of Indian women and the adoption of Indian children by non-Indians.
A 1974 WARN study reported that, during the 1970s, 40–50% of interviewed indigenous women believed they had been sterilized, although a subsequent study indicated this estimate was too high. Estimating the prevalence of sterilization is difficult, as the population did undergo growth during this period, while many of those who underwent the procedure already had three or four children. As a result of the efforts of WARN to bring attention to these practices, in 1979 regulations governing sterilization were issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In 1980, WARN issued a report indicating a statistical correlation between the high levels of pollution on Pine Ridge Reservation and an increased incidence of birth defects, abortions and cancer. This region had been used for uranium mining, served as a military gunnery range and had been subjected to herbicide and insecticide contamination from off-reservation farms.
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