Why protesters at the Supreme Court want you to boycott Dollar General.

In 2003, a teenage boy accused his manager at a Dollar General store of sexually assaulting him at work.

The boy, who is known as John Doe to protect his identity, is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

After the U.S. attorney's office declined to press charges against Dollar General, John Doe and his family ended up suing Dollar General, as the Indian Country Today Media Network reports.


On Dec. 7, 2015, the case landed before the Supreme Court.

John Doe's supporters holding signs outside the Supreme Court. Photo by Rebecca Nagle/Force: Upsetting Rape Culture. Used with permission.

It's no secret the United States has a rather unjust legacy when it comes to Native Americans.

And, lest we think it's a legacy left in the past, John Doe's case of Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, heard by the Supreme Court today, is a reminder that it continues in the present.

Dollar General has argued that Native American tribes do not have civil jurisdiction over an outside corporation doing business on tribal land. Basically, this means that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Dollar General, outside businesses may be able to commit other crimes on tribal land without fear of a lawsuit.

Protesters holding a sign supporting John Doe outside the Supreme Court. Photo by Rebecca Nagle/Force: Upsetting Rape Culture. Used with permission.

For the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the SCOTUS ruling could undermine its ability to protect tribe members.

“For the United States Supreme Court to say, 'You know what? ... Your tribal lands don't matter. Your laws don't matter. You can't protect your people on your tribal land.' It's devastating," said Cherrah Giles, Cabinet Secretary of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Sexual assault happens to native women at higher rates than any other racial group in the United States. According to the National Congress of American Indians, native women are at least two times as likely to be sexually assaulted or raped compared with all other races.

The Maynard Media Center on Structural Inequality discusses how such high rates show just how underserved native women are when it comes to sexual and domestic violence and how underreported these crimes are. The same is likely even more true for native men.

In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe that tribal courts did not have the authority to criminally prosecute non-Native Americans through tribal courts. The 1978 ruling has contributed to a culture of impunity of non-Native Americans who perpetrate violence against native women.

Supporters gathered outside the Supreme Court in December 2015 to show solidarity with John Doe and his tribe.

“When survivors have little to no access to justice, then sexual violence goes through the roof. And that's what's happening in Indian country," Rebecca Nagle, from the organization Force: Upsetting Rape Culture, told Upworthy.

As a result, 86% of Native American victims of sexual violence report their perpetrators as non-Native American, according to the National Congress of American Indians.

Along with other Native American tribes, Force: Upsetting Rape Culture is leading much of the activist effort supporting John Doe's case. The group demonstrated in front of the Supreme Court the morning the case was heard with The Monument Quilt, a project similar to the AIDS quilt, that spans the entire United States. Rape and abuse survivors and allies of any gender can contribute squares to the quilt.



The monument quilt stops in Baltimore in August 2014. Photo by Rebecca Eisenberg/Upworthy.

Giles and 75 other people added squares to the quilt in advance of the protest, she told Upworthy over the phone.

“It's healing. It's very cathartic to put it down there and say my story's being told and being carried along with all these other stories and all these other supporters of people who say, 'You know what? You're not alone, and we're here to support you,'" Giles said.

Monument Quilt squares from the Dollar General Supreme Court protest. Photo by Rebecca Nagle/Force: Upsetting Rape Culture. Used with permission.

"People need to know about [this case] and express outrage," Nagle said about the little media coverage that John Doe's case has gotten.

The fate of the country's Native American reservations is currently in the hands of Supreme Court, yet Nagle and Giles think the public at large can help.

Giles implores people to boycott Dollar General: "Don't give them the opportunity to continue to stay in business, basically paying for a perpetrator, for a child molester, to be protected by a big corporation."



Those wishing to express their support cand o so under the #shameondollargeneral hashtag on Twitter. Force: Upsetting Rape Culture has a guide on how to do that.

More

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended