The Indigenous 'womb to prison' pipeline

Executive director of the American Indian Prison Project working group Stephanie Autumn joins us to talk about the very important work they are doing. Plus reporter/producer Kolby KickingWoman, has some hot sports takes on March basketball and other stories he's covering.
Author:
Publish date:

Wildly high, 60 percent of juveniles held in federal custody are Native Americans. Once there, they serve sentences far longer than other juveniles sentenced locally for similar offenses. American Indian Prison Project working group's Stephanie Autumn, who is Hopi, joins the show today. Autumn is the organization's executive director and will be discussing their work and programs.

And reporter/producer Kolby KickingWoman, who is our resident sports guru is keeping an eye on teams and tournaments. Kolby joins us today to talk sports and to share details from another story he's writing.

Plus we have a story from the far north of lost regalia, a treasured family headdress that turned up 15 years later. The piece comes by way of our partners at APTN. Tina House shows us how social media played a big role in this story.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • At an Equal Pay Day event Vice President Kamala Harris spoke briefly about the pay gap of Native women. 
  • The North Central Montana Human trafficking and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Task force is gearing up for the Red Sand project. 
  • The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in northern California wants cannabis growers to move away from Capay Valley where the tribe is located. 
  • One tribe in North Dakota is opening up a new location for some of its first responders. 
  • The Spokane City Council in Washington is acknowledging the first people of the region.
  • Sharice Davids, one of the first two Native American women to be elected to Congress, is coming out with a children’s book. 

You'll find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show.

Stephanie Autumn:

"In 2020 our census, there were approximately 3.18 million Native people. So we're less than 1% of the population. But in States like Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Nebraska, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota, our relatives, men, women, and our youth can sometimes represent up to 20 to 35% of that incarcerated population in state, federal and county facilities."

"I've researched and we can look anywhere in some of the most recent research of state and federal agencies in terms of what they've learned. They've learned that punishment is not a deterrent to crime, but they continue to practice that model that somehow incarcerating and punishing individuals will create that change. But as Indigenous people, we know that a harm or a crime only represents a portion of that human being."

"It isn't who they are in totality. And in our Indigenous communities, we look at the strengths of all of our relatives. And if we can look at those strengths and couple them with healing resources and western therapy and really utilize our resources in a way that gets to the root of the problem, then we can start to see change in terms of decreasing the number of our relatives going into state and federal facilities."

Kolby KickingWoman:

"Oral Roberts has made a run to the Sweet 16. They're a university in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And one of the things I find fun every year is you kind of do a little research into these smaller schools who don't really get a lot of national attention during the year. And it turns out, Oral Roberts, the guy who founded the university is Cherokee and Choctaw. He is a member of those tribes. He passed away in 2009, but it's a little fun little factoid I found out."

"There has been a lot of news about just kind of what's going on down in the women's tournament. The lack of a weight room and compared to the men's, I'm sure you've seen the picture that went viral. That was just a little set of dumbbells. Whereas the men pretty much have a full gym and even down to the food. It's one of those things, especially in the social media age, things like that are going to get out. And so you think that the NCAA would be a little bit better about keeping it equal, especially because March is Women's History month."

"The Supreme court heard the United States versus Cooley. It involved a case also in Montana, actually with the Crow tribe and a Crow tribal police officer. He was driving on a highway that goes through the Crow reservation and there was a truck pulled over on the side of the road with it's headlights still on. The court documents said, in the past he wasn't unfamiliar with coming across people that needed help in the area. So he turned around and went to check on him and he ended up detaining the man, Joshua Cooley and found methamphetamine and guns in the car. He was eventually arrested and charged in federal court but appealed to have the evidence that was found by the Crow tribal police officer dismissed which the ninth circuit held up."

ICT logo bridge

Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix. 

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider

Kolby KickingWoman, Blackfeet/A'aniih, is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today. He currently reports from our Washington Bureau. On Twitter: @KDKW_406.
Email: kkickingwoman@indiancountrytoday.com

Indian Country Today is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work? All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization ─ and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people. Support Indian Country Today for as little as $10.