Swift Sanchez, a sergeant with the Suquamish Tribal Police, returns to her vehicle while on patrol on the Suquamish Reservation in Washington state. Across the country, police, prosecutors and judges have been wrestling with the vexing question for decades. (AP photo)
Question of race complicates crime-fighting on Indian reservations
Today, the Associated Press examines what it calls “the complex legal system used to mete out justice on American Indian reservations – a system that relies largely on race to determine jurisdiction, and then charges police and prosecutors with the sometimes delicate task of determining a person’s race.” As BJ Jones, director of the Tribal Judicial Institute at The University of North Dakota law school, tells the AP’s Sudhin Thanawala, “The whole flaw in the system is that it’s premised upon being an Indian defendant or Indian victim, and yet we have no clear-cut definition of who an Indian is.”
Art through American – and Native American – eyes
The title of a show at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey, “Engaging With Nature: American and Native American Artists (A.D. 1200-2004),” says it all. The show features works by, among others, Tewa-Hopi artist Dan Namingha and Kay WalkingStick, who is Cherokee-Winnebago and, says the New York Times, suggests “a different set of possibilities” when it comes to looking at the natural world.
Victoria University sees huge growth in indigenous programs
Nick Claxton (left) taught a paddle making course at the University of Victoria. (Photo for Indian Country Today by Hans Tammemagi)
On the good-news front, there’s a story from Indian Country Today on the growth of Native programs, student enrollment and staff at Victoria University. Hans Tammemagi writes that “By about 2000, a critical mass was reached, and that has grown so today there are 17 full-time Native staff and about 30 part-time or sessional staff. The enrollment of Native students is a good measure of the University of Victoria’s success. A decade ago, there were 72 indigenous students. Today, there are approximately 750, of which 100 are in post-graduate programs.” Emblematic of that growth is the First Peoples House, an architecturally stunning replica of a longhouse that is home to many of the programs.
Saving Canada’s indigenous languages should be campaign priority
Andrea Bear Nicholas, who chairs Native Studies at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, has a piece published on the CBC website about the importance of saving Native languages, something she considers “essential to our survival as First Nations.” And Bear Nicholas, who is Maliseet, suggests that New Brunswick follow the lead of the Yukon and Northwest territories by passing legislation that protects indigenous languages
Whew! Shiprock Navajo Fair is still on
The Navajo Times brings the news that despite controversy over a lack of transparency concerning financial data, the Shiprock Navajo Fair will go on as planned the first weekend of October. The fair draws as many as 120,000 people. “Nobody can stop it,” fair board vice president Charley P. Joe tells the Times’ Erny Zah.