When the federal government set up boarding schools in the 19th century to assimilate Native American children into American culture, one of the objectives was to get them to turn away from the use of their native languages. In recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the U.S., The Conversation turned to Daryl Baldwin, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma who is a leader in Native American language and cultural revitalization and a member of the National Council on the Humanities, for insight into a tribal community’s efforts working with a university to help bring languages back.
How were Indigenous languages lost?
Many actions throughout history put pressure on tribal communities to abandon the use of their languages. This included the forced assimilation that resulted from the Indian Civilization Act of 1819. This act established Indian boarding schools to teach subjects such as math and science while suppressing the use of Indigenous languages and cultures. Continue reading →
In the U.S., all elections are administered by the states. But not all states use the same rules.
Georgia uses a version of runoff voting, which entails two rounds of voting. Typically, if a candidate wins more than 50% of the votes in the first round, that candidate is declared the winner. If not, the two candidates with the most first-round votes face off in a second round of voting.
There’s historically been concern that such a runoff system disadvantages Black candidates. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney General John R. Dunne once argued that Georgia’s runoff voting system has had “a demonstrably chilling effect on the ability of Blacks to become candidates for public office.” Continue reading →
Around 3000 people met outside the Minnesota state capitol building to protest against laws banning abortion on May 21, 2019. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC
A leading reproductive rights organization on Wednesday reiterated the need for action to protect abortion access at the federal level in anticipation of three more “trigger laws” set to take effect in Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court reversedRoe v. Wade in June, anti-choice state lawmakers have moved to further restrict reproductive freedom—ramping up the GOP’s already “unprecedented” attacks on the right to choose. Continue reading →
Several Texas abortion funds – which are charities that help people who can’t afford to get an abortion pay for their travel, lodging and medical bills – paused disbursements on June 24, 2022, after the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have no constitutional right to the procedure.
“Every few paragraphs of the majority opinion has another line that dismissively and casually cuts apart tribal independence that Native ancestors gave their lives for,” observed one Indigenous law professor.
The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. ruled on June 29, 2022 that authorities in Oklahoma and other states can prosecute certain crimes on sovereign tribal land. Photo: Beatrice Murch/flickr/CC
Indigenous leaders on Wednesday condemned a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows authorities in Oklahoma and other states to prosecute certain crimes on sovereign tribal land, a narrowing of a landmark 2020 decision affirming Native treaty rights.
Writing for the majority in the 5-4 Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta decision—in which Neil Gorsuch joined the three liberal justices in dissent—Justice Brett Kavanaugh asserted that “the federal government and the state have concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian Country.” Continue reading →
After Florida’s GOP governor on Thursday signed a 15-week abortion ban inspired by a contested Mississippi law that could soon reverseRoe v. Wade, pro-choice advocates warned of impacts across the region, given that the Sunshine State has long been “an oasis of reproductive care in the South.”
With Gov. Ron DeSantis’ support, Florida’s law is set to take effect this summer. His signature came after Republican state legislators in Kentucky on Wednesday overrode their Democratic governor’s veto of a similar bill and GOP Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a near-total abortion ban. Continue reading →
It’s unusual for someone to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit one of its decisions. It’s very rare for that to happen almost immediately after the ruling was issued. But in the two years since the court’s ruling in a key case about Native American rights, the state of Oklahoma has made that request more than 40 times.
State officials have also repeatedly refused to cooperate with tribal leaders to comply with the ruling, issued in 2020 and known as McGirt v. Oklahoma. Local governments, however, continue to cooperate with the tribes and show how the ruling could actually help build connections between the tribal governments and their neighbors. Continue reading →
About 1000 people filled the Minnesota capitol rotunda in 2018 to demand stricter gun control laws. They protested against “stand your ground” and “permit-less carry” laws and demanded stricter laws on guns such as a ban on assault rifles. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC
So-called “stand your ground” laws are associated with hundreds of additional homicides each year in the United States, according to new research conducted by public health scholars, who say that these laws “should be reconsidered to prevent unnecessary violent deaths.”
Published Monday in JAMA Network Open, a peer-reviewed medical journal, the study compares homicide trends in roughly two dozen states that enacted stand-your-ground (SYG) laws between 2000 and 2016 with patterns from 18 states that didn’t have such laws during the study period. Continue reading →
George Floyd protests in Miami, Florida on June 6, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/Wikimedia/CC
Civil liberties and racial justice advocates are celebrating after a federal judge ruled Thursday that Florida’s anti-protest law is unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.
In his 90-page decision (pdf) granting civil rights groups’ request for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said the law—passed by Florida’s GOP-controlled House and Senate and signed in April by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in response to demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice—violates rights to free speech and peaceful assembly as well as due process protections. Continue reading →
George Floyd protest in Philadelphia 6-1-2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC
As Black Lives Matter protests grew across the U.S. following the police murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, so did the federal government’s persecution of activists who marched in support of racial justice.
That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) clinic at the City University of New York School of Law. Continue reading →