Native American Women and the Prison-Industrial Complex
Stephanie Lumsden (Hupa)
In my research paper I discuss how Native American women experience policing and incarceration in California. I accomplish this discussion by grounding my research in a few central questions. These questions are: Why are Native women in prison? How does their incarceration differ from those of Native men and non-Native women and men? And finally, what meaning does their incarceration in the state of California have in the context of history? My main argument is that the incarceration of Native American women in California is a direct result of the gendered nature of colonization. I want to focus on the ways in which Native women are recreated by the state as targets for violence and control. I elaborate on this point by discussing the disproportionate arrest of Native women, the criminalization of non-formal work, the statistics of sexual abuse amongst incarcerated Native women, and the reified historical trauma of being separated from their children and losing their parental rights. I expect that my research will prove that incarceration is a modern tool of sexual colonization and that contemporary Native women are experiencing the continued efforts by the state of California to subjugate them.
The Nor Rel Muk Wintu Nation: Our Inherent Sovereignty and the US Federal Recognition Process
Vanessa Esquivido (Nor Rel Muk Wintu)
The United States Native American Federal recognition process perpetuates colonization in the 21st century, which is a reality for many tribes in California. As of July 31, 2012, 79 Native American tribes submitted petitions to be federally recognized. This paper specifically looks at how the federal recognition process appears unattainable, revealing its deeply rooted intent to continually marginalize Native people. Using a case study, this paper specifically demonstrates the seemingly unreachable goals of the process, while at the same time suggesting to Native tribes alternative ways of federal recognition and exercising their inherit sovereignty. As a member of a non-federally recognized tribe, Nor Rel Muk Wintu Nation, located in Northern California, I begin here. The Nor Rel Muk first submitted their petition in 1984 to the Bureau of Acknowledgement; 28 years later, the tribe is still fighting for federal recognition. As the Nor Rel Muk Wintu continue to try to meet the criteria of the federal recognition process, other tribes have chosen to fight for recognition in other ways, using the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People and using the (colonial/settler mentality) law against them in terms of recognition by law suit. This paper will incorporate interviews with two individuals from other Wintun Nations who have chosen these alternative routes.