Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tribal members most often targeted in hate crimes

Ten percent of American Indians have been victims of violence. That rate is much higher in South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. The election of a radical white christian as mayor of Rapid City could make life for Native Americans even more difficult there. From Indian Country Today:
During his six-year term on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Chairman Arlan Melendez of the Reno Sparks Indian Colony saw more than his share of racism, discrimination and hate crimes against Native Americans. “We know from hearings in Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota that hate crimes are continuing to happen against Native Americans, mostly in border towns near our reservations,” he said, citing a soon-to-be released report developed by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that compiled testimony in 2009 about hate crimes from hundreds of Americans Indians. In her 2007 book “Anti-Indianism in Modern America,” Native American Studies professor Elizabeth Cook-Lynn said, “There has been little attempt by legal authorities or anyone else to understand the phenomenon of racially motivated violence in these communities."
Here's part of how she describes the state of race politics to readers of the Rapid City Journal:
Sadly, the tea party gives us the narrative of the offspring of the early immigrants who are coming to the sad conclusion that they can no longer "take" the land and the resources as their forebears did. But their belief that they are entitled to do so is a strong belief in the idea that any worthwhile history in this country is their history. Make no mistake, this cry of "take our country back" by the tea partiers is about race, skin color and discrimination. This never works on the long term in a country, nor did it work in Nazi Germany decades ago. It didn't even work when Red Cloud signed a treaty in 1868 at Fort Laramie that said white men had to show their "papers" to get permission to enter the Great Sioux Lands of the West. Apparently, Custer has won the war in the minds of American settlers everywhere, thus, "taking" America and "taking back" America are synonymous historically.
In Washington state:
Students in Richland school classes won’t read an award-winning book by a Northwest author in the foreseeable future. The Richland School Board voted 3-2 this week to prohibit use of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie in classrooms of any grade level.
But you can bring your phone into school and play video games that simulate the decapitation of a person of color.

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