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The Never-Ending Indian Wars

Yes Magazine highlights research conducted by CJCJ’s Mike Males on the high rates of death of Native Americans during arrest or while in custody. 

Excerpt from original article in Yes Magazine:

Just under 10 years ago, South Dakota sent its entire on-call contingent of highway patrol to help local police make arrests on the Yankton Sioux Reservation. Tribal members and others were demonstrating peacefully against a concentrated animal feeding operation that was being constructed on their homeland against their wishes. And in Montana in 2012, after Northern Cheyenne spiritual teacher Mark Wandering became lead plaintiff in a voting-rights lawsuit, police traffic stops of Native people in the area spiked.

Natives are not just arrested and abused by police; they are killed by law enforcement officers at a higher rate than any other group. Mike Males, senior research fellow at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, analyzed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data and found that from 1999 to 2014, Natives aged 20 – 24, 25 – 34, and 35 – 44 were three of the top five groups to die during arrest or while in custody. The other two groups were African Americans 20 – 24 and 25 – 30.

In April 2016, Claremont Graduate University scholars Roger Chin, Jean Schroedel, and Lily Rowen announced research showing that in six states — Mississippi, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Alaska, and North Dakota — death rates for Native Americans were higher than for any other group. Chin adds that in 87 percent of the cases over a recent 15-month period, the Natives were shot or died in the custody of off-reservation police.

The violence toward us is embedded in our history,’ says Nosie. When we started the Oak Flat encampment, right away military-type planes began flying overhead.’ Indigenous Environment Network (IEN) reports that in May 2016, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives showed up in combat gear to discuss Missouri River issues with Yankton Sioux officials. When tribal members said this was inappropriate, the Corps representatives stalked out of the meeting, according to IEN. According to Nosie, using military equipment and appearing in battle gear is meant to send a message: We did it to you before, and we can do it again.’ ”