“Of Course We Are Crazy”: Discrimination of Native American Indians Through Criminal Justice

This article argues that cultural incompetency is the root of systemic discrimination against indigenous people in the United States justice system 

Native Americans are the most economically impoverished ethnic group in the
United States. Fewer educational opportunities, high unemployment, permanent
residency issues, homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse, and geographic
isolation are realities and challenges that contribute to the proliferation of social
problems experienced by Native Americans. For example, twenty-seven percent
(27%) of Indian families live below the poverty level (compared to approximately
eleven percent (11.6%) among whites nationwide. Also, Native Americans are
subject to more violent crime than any other U.S. ethnic group, these crimes
include murder, assault, drug trafficking, human trafficking, gang violence, and
illegal immigration through tribal lands along with the experiencing highest rate of
incarceration in the nation. To compound these realities is the fact that Native
Americans experience a lack of cultural respect (competency) by members of other
ethnic groups and the white community in particular. This lack of cultural respect or 
cultural incompetency is rooted, in part, in racial discrimination imposed on Native
Americans. Application of discrimination theory provides an understanding of how
racial discrimination is the foundation of the social challenges Native Americans
face. One solution to lessen the challenges that Native Americans experience is the
restoration of their core cultural competencies.

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