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Sun Jun 17, 2012, 10:55 AM

ICT: Crime Data Misrepresented to Serve Hidden Tribal Agenda

By Scott Seaborne

On July 23, 2008, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-NE), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), introduced a bill titled Tribal Law and Order Act of 2008 (S.3320). Dorgan said the purpose of the bill to address needed reforms in Indian country law enforcement. According to Dorgan, S.3320 intends to address a wide range of issues. Several issues addressed by the bill will impact the rights of Indians and non-Indians. If passed in its current form, the bill would increase the length of sentences that tribal courts can impose and would expand tribal police powers to arrest non-Indians through cross-deputization. The legislation seeks ways to protect Indian women from rape.

The focus on Indian rape crimes exploded into the public arena in 2004 when the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) published a report titled “American Indians and Crime.” The report revealed that American Indians were victims of crime at a rate twice as high as the national average. The press release for the report stated, “About 7 in 10 violent victimizations of American Indians involved an offender who was described by the victim as someone of a different race–a substantially higher rate of interracial violence than experienced by white or black”. One statistic in the report was shocking. The BJS report revealed that 78% of the American Indian women who reported being raped identified their attacker’s race as white.

Following the American Indian and Crime Report from the BJS, another eye-opening report was published by Amnesty International (AI) in April of 2007. Like the BJS report, the AI report concluded American Indian women were victims of rape at a rate 2.5 times the rest of the nation. Unlike the BJS report, the AI report exposed a broad range of factors that increase the risk that American Indian women will be victimized by rape. Tribal leaders and their supporters not surprisingly focused on the BJS report and more specifically on the data that identified the perpetrators of rape on American Indian women as white 80% of the time.

Over the past two years, the tribal sovereignty lobby has missed few opportunities to complain about non-Indians raping American Indian women and the cause of it—the lack of authority to arrest and prosecute non-Indian predators—the United States Supreme Court case of Oliphant v Suquamish Tribe. In Oliphant, the Supreme Court, in 1978, ruled that tribal courts must not have jurisdiction over non-Indians because that power is inconsistent with their status as “ dependent” sovereigns.

Read more:http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/ict_sbc/crime-data-misrepresented-to-serve-hidden-tribal-agenda http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/ict_sbc/crime-data-misrepresented-to-serve-hidden-tribal-agenda#ixzz1y3wVKi9F

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