Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System

Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System

Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System

Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System

Synopsis

'This collection presents significant summaries of past criminal behavior, and significant new cultural and political contextualizations that provide greater understanding of the complex effects of crime, sovereignty, culture, and colonization on crime and criminalization on Indian reservations.' Duane Champagne, UCLA (From the Foreword) Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System offers a comprehensive approach to explaining the causes, effects, and solutions for the presence and plight of Native Americans in the criminal justice system. Articles from scholars and experts in Native American issues examine the ways in which society's response to Native Americans is often socially constructed. The contributors work to dispel the myths surrounding the crimes committed by Native Americans and assertions about the role of criminal justice agencies that interact with Native Americans. In doing so, the contributors emphasize the historical, social, and cultural roots of Anglo European conflicts with Native peoples and how they are manifested in the criminal justice system. Selected chapters also consider the global and cross-national ramifications of Native Americans and crime. This book systematically analyzes the broad nature of the subject area, including unique and emerging problems, theoretical issues, and policy implications.

Excerpt

Since the beginning of the self-determination policy in the 1970s, American Indian nations have been seeking restoration of more autonomous governing powers and cultural renewal. Starting in the early 1960s, much of this struggle has focused on native activism, the mobilization of reservation communities and leadership, and many legal battles fought in U.S. courts. From the early 1960s to the early 1980s, the courts handed down many decisions that affirmed limited powers of Indian self-government under U.S. law. During the late 1960s and 1970s, Congress passed many legislative acts that supported greater funding and decisionmaking powers for tribal governments. Since the early 1980s, the courts have become less supportive of Indian sovereignty issues, and Congress has encountered fiscal constraints that have diminished its direct impact on institution building in Indian country. Nevertheless, many Indian communities have firmly embraced sovereignty and self-government concepts and are actively engaged in institution building. They seek to create stronger tribal governments that reflect the interests, values, and culture of their communities. In a recent book, Blood Struggle, Charles Wilkinson says that the Indian self-determination movement is as important to U.S. history as the civil rights movement, although the Indian movement is by far less well known.

Many believe that tribal governments cannot exercise meaningful self-government unless they develop market economies. Government programs have encouraged economic development in Indian country with mixed success, and the current Indian gaming industry fills the gap to a certain extent but is unevenly distributed across Indian country. The U.S. federal court system has upheld treaties and tribal sovereignty issues enough to create a de facto Indian government within the federal system of state, national, and local governments, but it is based on treaties, legal decisions, and congressional policy. While in recent decades the congressional and judicial branches of the U.S. government have become less attentive to Indian aspirations for greater self-government and culturally based institution building, Indian communities have sought to define and protect their rights and are seeking to strengthen traditional and American-based tribal governments.

Relatively little attention in Indian country has been given to police regimes and justice issues, and if tribal communities are going to become whole again, they need to manage their own forms of justice, police, and court systems. In . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.