Tuesday, April 12, 2016

And if your police violence movement ignores American Indian lives, it definitely isn't about police violence

Who Are Police Killing? — Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice: "The racial group most likely to be killed by law enforcement is Native Americans, followed by African Americans, Latinos, Whites, and Asian Americans."

The subtitle for Native Americans Get Shot By Cops at an Astonishing Rate  is "So why aren’t you hearing about it?" The answer is that the American Indian population is both small and rural, so it's ignored by both the media and by #BlackLivesMatter. I'm not the only one to notice this: Native Lives Matter Goes Beyond Police Brutality | Al Jazeera America says, "Racial conflicts between Natives and non-Natives in the United States predate that of blacks and whites. Yet the Black-White binary remains emblematic of the discourse on race relations."

A few names from Native Lives Matter campaign takes off in South Dakota that should be as famous as any other victim of police abuse:
Allen Locke, a 30 year old Lakota sun dancer, was fatally shot by a white policeman while standing in a doorway holding a steak knife. His wife says he made no threatening moves.

In Oklahoma, two officers were given their department’s medal of honor after they killed 18-year-old, unarmed Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, a Cheyenne-Arapahoe. Incensed protesters compared this to the disgusting award of Congressional Medals of Honor to 20 soldiers who massacred nearly 300 Native men, women and children at Wounded Knee in 1890.

There are scores of other Indian victims of police seldom mentioned in the media: Christina Tahhahwah was tasered to death in an Oklahoma jail last year; Corey Kanosh, a Paiute, killed in Utah in 2012; Clint John shot in the head while on the ground in a parking lot in New Mexico; Lakota Daniel Tiger killed at a routine traffic stop, Myles Rough Surface, Robert Villa ... the list is long.

One 2010 case which did get national attention was in Seattle, Wash. First Nation woodcarver John T. Williams was gunned down while crossing the street with a block of wood and a closed pocketknife. Video of this blatant murder went viral. The officer was never charged, but resigned. Repeated outraged demonstrations forced the city to settle with Williams’ family.
For mroe examples, and more about some of the previous examples: Native Lives Matter, Too - The New York Times

Should you think Native crime is primarily a Native problem, Native Lives Matter notes, "Native Americans are more likely to be victims of violent crimes perpetrated by non-Native people than any other group."

Relevant links:

Native Lives Matter (@NLMcoalition) | Twitter

Native Lives Matter | Facebook

Previously: If your movement against police violence ignores a 6-year-old killed by the police because he's of the wrong race, your movement is not about police violence

ETA: When I criticize #BlackLivesMatter for ignoring other populations, someone invariably asks why different groups shouldn't focus on their own concerns. The answer is ancient: divided we fall, united we stand. Martin Luther King near the end of his life said, "In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike." The same numbers and the same logic applies to police abuse: who gains from ignoring the numerically greater white victims or the statistically greater Native victims?