A Powerful Story of Profiling and Protest

Passing along a couple of articles.

MinnPost wrote a great piece headlined: How an Aztec dance group became a fixture of the Twin Cities protest scene. The story also talks about Sergio Quiroz’s frequent stops by police in the St. Paul area and Sergio’s fear for his teenage son. It also tells the story of how Sergio and his wife Mary Anne started dancing together as a way to connect with their indigenous heritage. Their passion for dancing drew more people and evolved into a dance troop: Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli, “which means Warriors of the First Cactus Flower in the Nahuatl language.”

The troop has been showing up at local protests, according to MinnPost. Most recently they danced in front of Governor Dayton’s mansion as part of the protests of Philando Castile’s murder.

They had danced at protests before, most notably during the occupation at the Fourth Precinct following the Jamar Clark shooting. As an indigenous group, they also supported Native Lives Matter, the group that has focused attention on police treatment of Native Americans, and organized protests in St. Paul in February after police shot and killed Philip Quinn, a 30-year-old man with a history of mental illness. They have also danced for immigration reform.

In a related item, Nonprofit Quarterly just ran a story headlined: Native Lives Matter: Police Killing Native Americans at Astounding Rate. The opening sentence reads:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Native Americans make up almost two percent of those killed by police though they are only 0.8 percent of the population. While police kill young black men more than any other group, they kill Native Americans at a higher rate.

Click on the link above for the full article.

Bringing Native American Stories to an American Audience: Neiman Reports

A recent article in the Neiman Reports critiques the current mass media coverage, or lack of coverage, of contemporary Native American stories. It was headlined: Bringing Native American Stories to a National Audience: Journalists must move past stereotypes to forge deeper connections with an underrepresented population, and includes an interview with Scott Gillespie, the Star Tribune’s Editorial Page Editor.

One reason Native issues get so little attention is that editors worry about retelling the same old story about poverty, alcohol, and drugs on reservations, [Gillespie says.] Many Native Americans, in turn, mistrust journalists, tired of the ‘poverty porn’ they say depicts the places in which they live as all but hopeless. The setting for these stories is often the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the nation’s poorest, where mortality, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, diabetes, and other problems are prevalent. “There’s the idea that you’re perpetuating that story line,” Gillespie says. “That isn’t helping anybody, and I think it might be one of the things keeping editors from saying, ‘Let’s go do it.’”

The story also chronicles police shootings of Native Americans, noting the following: Continue reading