Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Washington, D.C., Federal government of the United States Pages: 5 (1518 words) Published: December 11, 2012
Diversity in the Criminal Justice System

December 1, 2012

TOPIC: Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System

Native Americans in the United States have reported to come from many different tribes. American Indians are likely to experience violent crimes at more than twice the rate of all other U.S. residents. The rate of violent crimes committed against Native Americans is substantially higher than any other minority group in the United States. Yet, little or no attention is paid to them. According to information collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), American Indians are likely to experience violent crimes at more than twice the rate of all other U.S. residents.

While Native Americans have a rich cultural history, much of this culture has been destroyed or manipulated to favor the European-descended majority. American Indians were portrayed as vicious, bloodthirsty savages who stubbornly resisted religion, education, and acculturation. Some examples would be the frequent references to the practice of scalping enemies, burning enemy camps, and enslaving enemy women and children. In addition, references to Native Americans’ pagan-like religions and native languages contributed to the demonization by European settlers.

While the federal government has recently made strides in attempting to reconcile a rather suspect relationship with the Indian people, Native Americans remain skeptical. Trust is always easy to lose and extremely difficult to re-establish. In an effort to regain the trust of the tribes and make amends for past transgressions, President Clinton signed an Executive Order in 2000 to renew the government’s commitment to tribal sovereignty (Shusta et al.2005, 255). While these statements are broad in scope and promise a great deal concerning the treatment of Native Americans by the criminal justice system, the United States government has not historically demonstrated good faith in maintaining its promises. An unbiased review of the past revealed that gathering of Plain Indians from the Dakotas and their internment on reservations. Tribes were relocated from their lands and reservations across the country to areas deemed more suitable for their habitation. This was also known as the “Trail of Tears,” and the government viewed this move as a benevolent gesture, and an opportunity for a less fortunate people to be provided for by a paternal authority. The government would provide food, clothing, and housing as well as an education. Yet starvation, isolation, and lack of education have plagued the American Indian. Today, most reservations still suffer from poor educational opportunities, high unemployment, and a proliferation of substance abuse. There was once a time when the entire Cherokee nation was forcibly moved from Georgia during the middle of winter which resulted in thousands of deaths. They were constantly under threat for their lands. President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Bill which meant that the Indians had to leave their land in Georgia. He wanted to get rid of the Cherokees of their land claiming that they were in the way and they did not belong. For this reason we can clearly see why indeed the Indian nation cease to rebuild their trust in the U.S. government. They were betrayed and mistreated many times in the past. Despite their weary efforts to keep their land in Georgia, the Cherokees were removed from their lands within only three days after the removal deadline. This was an extremely devastating time for their nation. This place was their home and the government, mistreating them once again, took that away from them. However, despite what seemed to be a series of unfortunate events, the Cherokee nation eventually got back on their feet, accepted their new home, and loved it. Their numbers doubled within a matter of years making them an even larger nation than previously. The years that followed, John Ross managed to restore his nation, government...

References: Final report of the Executive Committee for Indian Country Law Enforcement Imprvements to the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Interior. (1997). Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice.
In the Margins, special populations and American Justice. Reid C. Toth, Gordon A . Crews, Catherine E. Burton.
Major, A.K.A. Egley, Jr.,J.C.Howell, B.Mendenhall (2004) youth gangs in Indian Country. Washington DC: Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention.
O’Driscoll, O and t. Kendworthy.(2005) Nazi web link eyed in killings: Echoes of Columbine emerge: gunman.
Perry, S. W. (2004), American Indians and crime. Washington DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Shusta. R.M.D.R Levine, P.R.Harris, and H.Z. Wong (2002) Multicultural law enforcement.
Shusta. R.M.D.R Levine, P.R.Harris, and H.Z. Wong (2005) Multicultural law enforcement.
Wood, D.S (2000. Officer turnover in the Village Public Saftey Officer Program, Alaska Justice Forum.
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