Arizona Native Americans Oppose New Nativist Law



I’ll bet Arizona’s mostly white nativists, including right-wing Republicans, did not see this one coming. Native American groups in Arizona have made it clear they will not enforce the new Arizona anti-immigrants law. An Arizona Capitol Times report by Evan Wyloge states:

Native American tribes are charging that the law was written without considering their unique circumstance and that it will violate their sovereignty and their members’ civil rights. Despite a request by Gov. Jan Brewer’s office to comply with the new law, Native American tribes will continue to oppose it and seek ways to avoid its implementation, said John Lewis, executive director of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, which represents 20 tribes in the state. [and a fifth of the lands]

One reason is that the new law will

lead to disproportionate stops and detentions for tribal members, violate their sovereignty and negatively impact the tribal economy.

Police officers, especially white officers, are likely to target Native Americans, because they often look Latino. I wonder why that is? Could it be because a majority of Mexicans and Mexican Americans have substantial Native American (indigenous) ancestry?

And that raises another point. Aren’t most European Americans in Arizona and elsewhere the descendants of undocumented immigrants who came into a country without the permission (and often against the opposition) of the existing indigenous inhabitants? (We had no general exclusionary immigration laws until 1920-1924, so requiring immigration documents for all is fairly new in this country’s history.)

Hmmm. Does that also mean that a majority of current Mexican immigrants have deeper historical and ancestral roots in North America, and in what used to be northern Mexico (e.g., Arizona), than European Americans?

Navajo Nation Councilmember Delegate Kee Allen Begay Jr. has commented on the implications of the law:

“What if we had a law that said whenever a white person is traveling through the Navajo Reservation, we have reasonable suspicion that they’re carrying drugs? Where would the outcry on that be? ….We were here before anyone else, before any white people, and now we’re going to be questioned about being here legally?”

What if, indeed!

Comments

  1. Shari Valentine

    I would expect state law enforcement to retaliate by setting up traps coming on and off the reservation to harass Natives and force compliance by the tribe.

    It is the usual sort of hammer approach to tribes exercising their sovereign rights.

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