In light of the debate surrounding police violence against minority populations in the United States, one group that is consistently affected, yet continuously excluded from broad public discourse, is Native Americans. American Indians, in fact, suffer the most adverse effects of a criminal justice system which consistently reifies itself as structurally unjust. Unsettling reports of unfair treatment towards Native peoples by law enforcement are not isolated incidents, rather they are endemic of a deeply discriminatory justice system. Native American men are admitted to prison at four times the rate of white men and Native women at six-fold the rate of white women. Additionally, Native Americans are the racial group most likely to be killed by law enforcement.
The release of this report runs parallel to a large march led by Lakota People’s Law Project Attorney Chase Iron Eyes, who has led the Native Lives Matter movement that continues to gather momentum in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Key findings of the report include:
• Native Americans are most likely to be killed by law enforcement.
• Native youths suffer the two most severe outcomes of the juvenile justice system—out of home placement and transfer to the adult penal system.
• Native Americans are more likely to be victims of violent crimes perpetrated by non-Native people than any other group.
• Native American youth is 1 percent of the youth population, but represents 70 percent of the youth admitted to the federal bureau of prisons.