The heavily militarized police departments across the United States are taking a terrible toll on the lives of mostly unarmed people of color–both men and women. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics give weight to this assertion that shows not only African Americans age 20-24 are most likely to be killed by American law enforcement officers, but America’s indigenous men and women between the ages of 25 and 44 are the next most likely to be killed by a police officer (Statistics from 1999 – 2011). What this means is that while “Native Lives Matter” to indigenous peoples around the United States, the US justice system does not consider those lives as important as others. The “kill rate” for American Indians by police 6.6 people for 25-34 year olds and 5.9 people for 35-44 year olds (per million). Since there are about 5.3 million American Indians in the United States (1.3 million living on or near Indian reservations), one has to notice that since about half the total American Indian population is 34 years and younger about thirteen to twenty men and women are killed by police each year.
By these measures the more than 1000 people shot and killed by American police officers in one year since the killing of Michael Brown on 9 August, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri the rate of the police killing American Indians between the ages of 20 and 44 is startling. Fifty-three year old Choctaw practitioner of spirit medicine Rexdale W. Henry died in a Philadelphia, Mississippi jail on 14 July 2015 from unspecified causes. “This is a reflection of an endemic problem in the perception of non-white people when it comes to the administration of justice,” Chase Iron Eyes, an attorney with the Lakota People’s Law Project in South Dakota, told Mother Jones.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here