June 22, 2007

Why reservations are crime-ridden

Senate hears of tribal law enforcement strugglesIndian Country criminal law has never had a comprehensive plan but instead remains a patchwork quilt of decisions and stop-gap legislation that few understand, he said. That needs to be changed, but the Justice Department "cannot do this," he said.

"Quite frankly it lacks the structure and the resolve to take the leadership in a comprehensive change in this jurisdiction," he said.

He recommended that Congress establish a criminal justice commission to propose reforms and a comprehensive new body of criminal law.

In the short term, he said, Congress should also boost funding for multijurisdictional task forces; establish family violence centers to focus on child abuse, sexual assault and domestic abuse; and devise ways to empower tribal courts and leaders to crack down on drug deals and domestic abusers.

Relations with federal law enforcement have broken down, said Marcus Wells Jr., chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes--the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara--of the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota.

"I humbly ask for your help," he said.

Wells said of 10 federal officer positions for the reservation, three are continually vacant. That leaves seven BIA officers to patrol 1 million acres. And they are often detailed off-reservation without notice to the tribal government, he added.
Comment:  This article is directly relevant to the negative portrayals of tribal life in the press and other media. Reservations aren't ridden with crime because Indian societies are corrupt or immoral. They're ridden with crime because they don't have the same law-enforcement resources as the rest of the country.

This is a truth that's totally missing from the SCALPED comic book. SCALPED doesn't show us good people struggling against a bad system. It depicts the Indians themselves as bad. The lack of law-enforcement resources is irrelevant since the majority of SCALPED's Indians are criminals, thugs, and lowlifes.

In short, SCALPED is a classic case of blaming the victim for the problem.

No comments: