Native American POV on SB 1070

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At a Nov. 9 discussion at Cornell University on Native American rights, Arizona's SB 1070 came up as panelists explained the profound impact the legislation has on Native Americans living near the border:

More importantly, he added, since the bill became law, racism has become legitimized, and violence against Native peoples "is more blatant than ever." Recently, "tribal members out in the desert chopping wood have been handcuffed and beaten because they didn't have any identification on them," he said. Although the people were on their tribal land, he noted, "somehow the border patrol saw this as a legitimate way to detain people and abuse people violently."

Panelist Alan Gomez, a professor at Arizona State University, attributed such violent treatment of indigenous people to the border control's acting on the premise that "hierarchies within humanity" rightfully exist, and those on top are lawfully endorsed to enforce power.

"You do away with people's ... ability to dream and have their culture, and you limit their ability to move," he said, emphasizing that the law invokes an atmosphere where "there's an expectation of certain communities [acting] to police other communities."

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