SIOUX CITY — The Democratic presidential candidates who spoke during a two-day forum in Sioux City addressed what some call an “epidemic” of violence against Native American women. Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said it’s time to ensure justice for indigenous women.

“You’ve had 5700 missing and murdered women and girls over the last several years and that we ensure we take that seriously,” Castro said.

The Indian Health Institute estimates just two percent of reported cases of missing Native American woman are listed on a federal database. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called for better cooperation between the U.S. government and tribal authorities. Author and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson, the first candidate to speak on the forum’s first day, said the country must repair what has been broken.

“I am deeply aware that violence against women and girls is one of the most demonic signs of a nation, as well as an individual, that has lost its soul,” Williamson said.

According to the National Institute of Justice, 84 percent of Native American women experience violence in their lifetime — and women in some tribal communities are 10 times more likely to be murdered than other women.

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