I am of Anishinaabe and Cherokee ancestry and a MSW student at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Six years ago, on the White Earth reservation, an elder told me how the Anishinaabe bloodline is found across the world due to slavery. He then added that prostituted women are not to blame for being in prostitution. I have not seen him since.
Three years later, after presenting at Black Bear Casino on a report I co-authored, “Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota,” another elder stopped me in the foyer to tell me how Native women, girls, and boys have been sold for sex on the ships in the Duluth port. She said some have been shipped into other countries. She gave me details I had not heard before, then turned on her heel and disappeared into the casino lights. I have not seen her since.