Charon Asetoyer is an ardent advocate for justice for Native American women and all women. A Comanche who married into the Yankton Sioux tribe in Lake Andes, South Dakota, Asetoyer founded the nation's first reservation-based resouces center for Native American women in 1988, of which she is currently Executive Director. The Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center assists indigenous women and their families through policy work as well as direct services and coalition-building with other indigenous women around the world. In 1991, the Center opened a domestic violence shelter for women and children, and since then has initiated other programs, such as one that raises awareness about fetal-alcohol issues and an AIDS prevention program. Asetoyer's work at the Center and activism around reproductive justice is crucial in light of the Hyde Amendment, which has deprived women on reservations of abortion services since 1976, as well as other issues such as the high rates of rape, sexual assault, and violence against indigenous women, and ongoing human rights violations.
Asetoyer was an outspoken opponent of South Dakota's all-out abortion ban in 2006, and announced her run for state senate following the passage of the draconian legislation. She ran on a platform promoting economic, environmental, and reproductive justice for all, as well as universal health insurance coverage, fair living wages, paid maternity leave, and a host of pro-woman, pro-family issues. In 2005, Asetoyer was honored by Womens eNews as one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century.
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