This Wonk Room report interviews Vee Newton, a Native American man who says he was stopped by Arizona police at a checkpoint after three cars full of white people passed through. He was wearing traditional attire at the time. He blames Arizona’s new law that requires police to check people suspected of being in the country illegally.
Newton tells Sarah Reynolds, a freelance journalist (there’s an audio link to the interview): “The questions were stated to me in a tone that I felt was very degrading to me. So I simply stated to them that I am a native of America, I am a native to the land and I am Native American.”
As Wonk Room points out:
Since Arizona enacted a set of draconian immigration laws which many claim will “exacerbate racial-profiling,” much of the focus has been on the effect its implementation will have on the state’s Latino population. However, along with being home to almost two million Latinos, Arizona has the second largest total Native American population of any state. While Native American tribes possess claims to Arizona lands that date back farther than any other group, they are often racially profiled and mistaken for undocumented immigrants of Latin American descent.
Indian Country Today, meanwhile, has this report by Rob Capriccioso that says Arizona’s new immigration law has left Native people “alarmed that tribal sovereignty has been violated, with the looming possibility that individual liberties will be threatened.”
Members of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, which opposed the S.B. 1070, traveled to Washington after Gov. Jan Brewer signed it into law in hopes of educating policymakers on its potential effects.
“We have a range of concerns, including tribal sovereign nations not being recognized as able to define and protect their own borders as they see fit, and the possibility that tribal citizens will be profiled by police,” John Lewis, director of the organization, tells Capriccioso. Both the Tohono O’odham and the Pascua Yaqui Nations share borders with Arizona and Mexico.
The American Civil Liberties Union has vowed to monitor the situation as it pertains to Native Americans, Capriccioso reports.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the situation as it unfolds.