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Hate Crimes Against Indigenous Peoples Continue

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  • swaneagle harijan
    Blessings All If only i had the resources to do what i feel most called to enact... Nonstop vigils, encampments, continuous presence to bear witness and deter
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 28, 2007
      Blessings All

      If only i had the resources to do what i feel most
      called to enact... Nonstop vigils, encampments,
      continuous presence to bear witness and deter killers
      must occur wherever vulnerable people are assaulted,
      brutalized, raped and murdered. Please read this
      piece and another longer one on the SPLC website about
      the killings in Farmington, NM, which i have written
      about several times since first learning about the
      extent and silencing such crimes enjoy. It is horrid.

      My friend's ex huband, a Lakota man, lost 2 of his
      cousins to the killings of Lakota whose bodies were
      found in the Rapid City River as in the article. He
      also lost his aunt during the siege on Wounded Knee
      back in the late 70's and early 80's. Her dismembered
      body was found in a hay stack by dogs. Why can't the
      hate facing Indigenous peoples be addressed by
      activists? Why? I just don't get it.

      Once again, i thank dorinda moreno for sending this
      information and all other materials that add to the
      lengthy documentation of nonstop genocide....

      In peaceful struggle, swaneagle
      Malign Neglect
      Racial violence against Native Americans has drawn
      attention from the federal government twice in recent
      years, but many hate crimes still seem to get a pass.
      by Susy Buchanan

      Daisy Piggott, whose daughter was murdered in 2000,
      reacted with shock when a white man was acquitted in
      her death. Joshua Wade boasted of killing Della Brown
      and having sex with her corpse. (AP Wide World Photo)

      The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is a federal
      fact-finding agency with subpoena powers that
      investigates reports of violent hate crimes and other
      civil rights violations nationwide. Twice in recent
      years, the commission has investigated bias-motivated
      violence against American Indians and Alaska Natives
      in far-flung locales.
      In one notorious January 2001 case that prompted the
      commission to hold hearings in Alaska, three white
      teenagers cruised the dark and icy streets of downtown
      Anchorage armed with a paintball gun loaded with paint
      pellets that had been frozen to intensify the pain
      inflicted upon impact. They hunted Alaska Natives and
      videotaped their own drive-by attacks. Pulling
      alongside one victim, the teenagers lured the man to
      the car, saying, "We're tourists from California, and
      we just want to talk to some Alaskan people." They
      began asking him fake interview questions. "Talk to
      the camera," they said. Then, when he turned, they
      shot him in the face and cheered.

      It was clear from the 24-minute videotape recovered by
      police that the teens were specifically targeting
      Alaska Natives. As they put it, they were going on "an
      Eskimo hunt." At one point in the tape, one of them
      spots a potential victim and says, "Shoot him! Shoot
      him!" Then, "No, he's Chinese."

      When one of the victims, most of whom were inebriated,
      flagged down a police cruiser and told the officer he
      had been shot, he was arrested for disorderly conduct
      and spent 10 days in jail.

      "The January 2001 paintball incident may have been the
      first realization among the non-Native community in
      Alaska that hate crimes occur, but for the Native
      community, the event was one more in a series of
      hate-inspired acts," the civil rights commission
      concluded in its April 2002 report, "Racism's
      Frontier: The Untold Story of Discrimination and
      Division in Alaska."

      The paintball attacks came amidst a series of brutal
      attacks on Alaska Natives that were widely suspected
      of being hate crimes and were included in the
      commission's investigation. These included five
      instances where Native women were kidnapped off the
      streets in downtown Anchorage and raped. Also, four
      Native women were murdered in Anchorage in a single
      year, including a 33-year-old woman whose mutilated
      body was found sprawled in an abandoned shed in
      September 2000.

      Joshua Wade was arrested after police learned the
      20-year-old white man had showed off the body to
      several of his friends before it was discovered by
      authorities, bragging that he'd killed the woman and
      had sex with her corpse. After he was arrested, Wade
      claimed he'd made up the murder story to impress
      people. He was later convicted of evidence tampering

      "There are systemic institutional racism problems
      against Alaska Natives that have occurred for a long
      time," David Levy, the executive director of the
      Anchorage Equal Rights Commission who likens the
      treatment of Alaska Natives in Anchorage to that of
      African Americans in the Deep South 50 years ago, told
      the commission. "These problems are going to take a
      long time to deal with."

      Since the January 2001 paintball attacks there have
      been at least two copycat crimes, and bias-motivated
      violence against Alaska Natives in Anchorage remains a
      serious problem.

      Tensions in South Dakota
      Race hate apparently can be just as dangerous for
      American Indians in South Dakota towns bordering the
      Pine Ridge Reservation. Before visiting Anchorage, in
      2000, the Commission on Civil Rights went to South
      Dakota in response to "a recent series of high-profile
      cases involving the unsolved deaths of several
      American Indians [that] has brought tensions to the
      surface," according to the agency's subsequent report,
      "Native Americans in South Dakota: An Erosion of
      Confidence in the Justice System."

      In Mobridge, S.D., in 1999, four white teenagers beat
      a mentally retarded, inebriated Sioux Indian, and then
      shoved him headfirst into a garbage can, where he
      later died. When the coroner determined alcohol
      poisoning to be the cause of death, the incident was
      widely viewed as a prank gone awry. All charges
      against the four youths were quickly dropped.

      As attorney Charles Abourezk told the federal civil
      rights commission: "Our James Byrds often appear with
      little notice here in our region, and their killers
      often get probation rather than the death penalty or
      do not get charged at all."

      Between May 1998 and December 1999, six homeless
      American Indians were found drowned in the relatively
      shallow waters of Rapid Creek, and the bodies of two
      murdered Indian men were found in a culvert just
      outside the reservation.

      In 1999, Native activist Frank Killsright told a
      reporter he and two friends were crossing a bridge
      over Rapid Creek when they were confronted by six
      skinheads. "One of our guys was thrown off the bridge
      and had his arm broken. The fight lasted five minutes.
      My glasses were broken and I got a fat lip. Then they

      Police refused to take action, Killsright said. "The
      police are denying white supremacist groups exist
      here. The town has been a magnet for white
      supremacists since Custer first came here looking for

      Also in 1999, 17 year-old Mark Appel ran over and
      killed 21 year-old Justin Redday, who had passed out
      on the road near Sisseton, S.D. Appel admitted he made
      no effort to avoid the body because "it is illegal to
      cross the white line, or if it is a solid yellow line,
      or even if it wasn't, it is illegal to swerve." Unsure
      of what he had hit, he reportedly backed up to take a
      look and ran over Redday again. Appel was charged with
      drunken driving, sentenced to 30 days in jail and
      fined $330.

      Redday's mother was outraged. "In my opinion, the
      message the courts are sending to our community is
      that it's okay to kill someone as long as it [is] an
      Indian in this county and state. This state treats
      Native Americans just like blacks are treated in
      Mississippi. Why did my son have to die?" she asked a
      reporter. "Because this white boy seems to have the
      right to drive around drunk?"

      As the commission's report concluded: "Rumors of
      cover-ups by law enforcement, allegations of
      halfhearted or nonexistent investigations, and
      seemingly disparate jail sentences have spurred
      protests throughout American Indian communities, and
      further strained already tenuous white-Indian

      Intelligence Report
      Winter 2007
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