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A Montana tribal councilwoman was brutally assaulted and “left for dead” in a hotel room earlier this month, according to relatives and police.
Silver Little Eagle, 24, who is a sitting member on the Northern Cheyenne tribal council, was assaulted at a Crowne Plaza Hotel in Billings last week, according to USA Today. A 31-year-old man was also attacked, authorities said.
Police were dispatched to the Crowne Plaza Hotel on May 16 after reports of an assault that had occurred in a suite. Little Eagle was rushed to hospital and treated for her injuries. Her vehicle and her purse were stolen but were both later recovered by investigators.
Her injuries included broken bones and head trauma; she could also be facing long-term sight problems. Her family said she was “left for dead” following the violent incident.
“Had Councilwoman Little Eagle not been found by a family member, it is very likely she would have died from this violent attack,” her family said in a statement. “That speaks to the severity of her injuries. We are calling for justice and that the perpetrators are prosecuted for this crime.”
Her father confirmed she's been released from the hospital but is receiving ongoing treatment.
"She's hurting physically, she's hurting mentally, spiritually but she is healing, she's recovering," Goldstein Little Eagle told Oxygen.com. "This is far from over with her injuries and her pain."
No arrests have been made and a motive for the attack hasn't been released by authorities. Little Eagle's family described the assault as a “brutal, unprovoked attack spurred by jealousy and hate.” Billings Police Department said they don’t suspect the crime was racially motivated.
Two women, aged 25 and 27, have been identified as persons of interest in the case and are wanted by authorities for questioning in connection to the incident. Detectives said they believe the 27-year-old woman and the man who was with Little Eagle may have known each other.
Little Eagle's family accused the media of not taking the investigation seriously in its early stages due to racial bias.
"It could have been pushed faster," Goldstein Little Eagle said." It wasn't on the news. If she wasn't Native American... I believe it would have been on the news more immediately. With this severity of this case, I am hoping to see some arrests real soon here with all the evidence and the investigation that's going on right now."
Little Eagle turned 24 on Monday. Her family described her as a "peaceful," "quiet," and "strong" civic leader. During the pandemic, she prepared traditional plant medicines and served meals to older members of her community, they said.
"She has the biggest, kindest heart," Goldstein Little Eagle said. "It's not in her character to have something like this done to her."
Since the attack, Little Eagle’s family said she’s also been cyberbullied and slandered by some members of the community.
“Councilwoman Little Eagle has experienced further threats of violence, cyberbullying, defamation of character, and harassment by the assailants and people in her own community,” the statement read.
A GoFundMe page has raised more than $28,000 for Little Eagle to cover the costs of medical expenses related to her recovery. The hashtag #justiceforsilver has also been circulated on social media in the wake of the attack.
“We are thankful that Councilwoman Little Eagle did not become another statistic,” the statement says. “We also recognize that behind these statistics are real women — sisters, daughters, mothers, and tribal leaders. Native women continue to face ongoing violence and this must stop! Justice must be served!”
Little Eagle was first elected to the Northern Cheyenne tribal council in 2020. She’s the youngest serving council member.
No further information was released by authorities regarding the incident. A spokesperson for the Billings Police Department didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com regarding questions about the case on Thursday.
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