The father of an elected member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council in Montana who was assaulted and left for dead said on Friday that whoever attacked his daughter did not violate her will.
A battered Silver Little Eagle, 24, was found earlier this month in a Billings hotel room.
“She stays strong. She will fight for justice, ”said her father, Goldstein Little Eagle. “She’s doing it. She is recovering and she is recovering.
The councilor was elected in November to represent the Lame Deer district, her father said.
Relatives of Silver Little Eagle said in a May 20 statement that his injuries were serious.
“Silver Little Eagle was brutally attacked in Billings, MT, and left for dead,” the statement read. “If Councilor Little Eagle had not been found by a family member, it is very likely that she would have died from this violent attack.”
Without confirming the identity of Silver Little Eagle, Billings Police said in a statement this week that a female victim was found in a room at the Crowne Plaza hotel on the morning of May 16. Personal property was missing and his vehicle had been stolen, police said.
Police said they also received a report that a 31-year-old man was “assaulted at the same time and in the same place as the victim”.
Detectives found no evidence that the attack on Silver Little Eagle was linked to human trafficking or racist motives, police said.
No one was arrested, but police said they wanted to speak to two women, aged 25 and 27, who have been identified as “persons of interest”. One of the women apparently knew the man who was assaulted, investigators said.
“There is said to be an association of partner family members between the 31-year-old man and the 27-year-old woman of interest,” police said in the statement. “In addition, it is believed that there is some type of association between all parties involved and that the crime is not seen as an act of random violence.”
A spokesperson for the department did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Friday.
Goldstein Little Eagle said he expected police to eventually arrest one or more suspects.
“Investigators work hard and we keep up to date with them,” he said. “They are going to make sure they have everything they need compiled before the next very important step.”
Goldstein Little Eagle said he couldn’t imagine who would want to hurt his daughter, whom he described as “a generous soul”. Before her election to the tribal council, she provided curative remedies for tribal members sick with Covid-19. She also often helped feed the elderly, he said.
“She cares deeply for her Cheyenne people,” he said.
He said his daughter now has a new mission: to empower Native American women who have experienced violence.
“There are too many aboriginal women that when this stuff happens they are thrown under the rug,” said Goldstein Little Eagle. “What I see with his story is that it’s going to help someone. It will help others.
The assault on Silver Little Eagle is “another painful reminder” of the high rate of violence against Native women in Montana, her family said in its statement.
“We recognize that behind these statistics are real women – sisters, daughters, mothers and tribal leaders!” He said.
the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention, using 2018 data from the National Vital Statistics System, said homicide was the sixth leading cause of death among Native American and Alaska Native women aged 1 to 44.
The family statement says Silver Little Eagle has been the victim of threats, cyberbullying and defamation since the assault.
Her father said she was no longer online. But she said in a Facebook post before the attack that in times of cruelty and hate, prayer, compassion and kindness prevail.
“It just hit me,” his father said, his voice broken. “She was beaten so badly.”