Overlooked Victims of Police Violence: Native Americans

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

In August 2015, Cecily Hilleary writing for Voice of America News published “Native Americans Most Likely Victims of Deadly Police Force.” Hilleary’s article focused on the topic of police discrimination and violence against Native American populations. The topic of police discrimination and violence against Native Americans is significant because the disenfranchised demographic is subjugated by unrelenting violence as unrepresented, silent victims. Since August 2015, the corporate press has ignored the story of “Native Americans Most Likely Victims of Deadly Police Force.”

Hilleary’s article focused on the topic of police discrimination and violence against Native American populations. Discussed in the article is the vulnerability and likelihood of Native Americans to be engaged with police officials in aggressive altercations. Statistics of lethal encounters between police and Native Americans have little visible coverage, if the statistics have any coverage. As victims of police brutality, many Native Americans may remain silent.

The topic of police discrimination and violence against Native American populations is significant because the disenfranchised demographic is subjugated by unrelenting violence as unrepresented, silent victims. Underreported by both the independent and corporate news sources, the inequity of news coverage of Native Americans is demonstrated by the use of simple statistics only in comparison to other ethnic groups. Native Americans are more likely to die from fatal policy shootings than white Americans.

The independent news coverage of “Native Americans Most Likely Victims of Deadly Police Force” has been greater and more thorough.. Multiple news and opinion articles published in the latter half of 2015 featured multiple suspicious deaths and lethal altercations with activists and mentally ill individuals, respectively; all instances involved law enforcement officials. Most of the articles repeated almost identical statistics regarding Native American deaths involving law enforcement. For the corporate media, Al Jazeera has reported how natives in Hawaii and Alaska make up over one-third of those states’ prison populations when they make up less than twenty percent of the total population in both states. In addition to advocating the change of treatment of Native Americans, the articles promoted the implementation of substantial news coverage of the plight of Native Americans in all societal levels.

The underrepresentation of Native Americans in the media in comparison to other ethnic groups contributes to the mistreatment, racism, and poor quality of life for most Native Americans today. They live in fear of the institution that is supposed to protect them and serve justice equally without exceptions. Without a voice to champion change, Native Americans continue to be silent victims of a covertly racist justice system.

Sources:

Agorist, Matt. “Police are Killing Native Americans at Higher Rate than Any Race, and Nobody is Talking About It.” The Free Though Project. August 2, 2015. http://thefreethoughtproject.com/police-killing-native-americans-higher-rate-race-talking/

Haltiwanger, John. “Native Americans Are Actually The Most Likely To Be Killed By Police.” Elite Daily. August 5, 2015.http://elitedaily.com/news/politics/native-americans-most-likely-killed-by-police/1161385/

Hilleary, Cecily. “Native Americans Most Likely Victims of Deadly Police Force.” Voice of America News. August 15, 2015. http://www.voanews.com/content/native-americans-most-likely-victims-of-deadly-force-by-police/2918007.html

Lazare, Sarah. “2015: The Year Police Killings in America Were Counted.” Common Dreams. December 29, 2015. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/12/29/2015-year-police-killings-america-were-counted

Vicens, AJ. “Native Americans Get Shot By Cops at an Astonishing Rate.” Mother Jones. July 15, 2015. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/native-americans-getting-shot-police

Student Researchers: Aimee Burk and Jared Rodda (Diablo Valley College)

Faculty Evaluator: Nolan Higdon (California State University, East Bay)