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Dian Million

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Policing the Rez: Keeping No Peace in Indian Country

Dian Million argues that American Indian communities are currently caught in a double bind where they are restrained from asserting their own jurisdictions and customs to combat racism, violence, and deteriorating social conditions while the surrounding, non-Indian community is free to criminalize Indians’ proactive responses. Because US law “polices,” but does not protect, Native communities, US legal jurisdiction contributes to the social violence and ill health that plagues many reservations and urban Indian communities. The extension of this jurisdiction into Indian country in the twenty-first century may be the last battlefield of the Indian wars. Current Native political and social activity is optimistic, and Native sovereignty and nationalism have shown some potency. However, as a leader among capitalist nations, the United States remains intent on erasing American aboriginal governance and getting out of the “Indian” business. The relationship of Native nations to state apparatuses and discourses is unique among racialized peoples, and the practice of sovereignty for Native Americans involves peril if the governing and political practices of states are not examined.

Native American, Indian reservation police — United States; sovereignty; Indians of North America — history; crime and criminals; police

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 27, No. 3 (2000): 101-119