your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Melanie Yazzie: Border town violence connected to colonization

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: border towns, crime, hate crimes, melanie yazzie, new mexico, racism, urban indians navajo

Navajo Nation President, right front, and other tribal officials met with Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry last month to discuss the brutal murders of two tribal members in New Mexico's largest city. Photo by Rick Abasta / Office of the Navajo Nation President

Melanie Yazzie explores the murders of three Navajo Nation men in Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico:
In the early morning hours of July 19, 2014 three teenagers entered an empty dirt parking lot in Albuquerque’s Westside. The lot is well known as a sleeping site for the homeless. The teens proceeded to viciously bludgeon Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson beyond recognition while the two men slept. Gorman, from Shiprock, and Thompson, from Church Rock, were Diné. Jerome Eskeets, who is also Diné, narrowly escaped with his life.

In response to the killings, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly met to develop a task force on Native American homelessness in Albuquerque and other border towns. President Shelly has called for a Federal Bureau of Investigation enquiry into the killings as possible hate crimes.

The Albuquerque District Attorney’s Office states there is no evidence that Gorman’s and Thompson’s murders were racially motivated. In fact, the perpetrators reportedly boasted about the indiscriminate nature of their attacks, which possibly exceed 50 separate incidents.

In informal conversations about the killings of Gorman and Thompson, I have heard others use the language of hate crimes to describe the incident. This makes sense: the crime occurred along ostensibly clear racial and class lines. The victims are all poor Native Americans, the perpetrators all poor Hispanics.

The label ‘hate crime’ is typically used to bracket a specific kind of violence motivated by extreme prejudice or bigotry. Congress defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”

By emphasizing abject poverty, devastating alcoholism, acute racial tensions, or the exceptional violence that distinguishes these perpetrators from others, existing attention to Gorman’s and Thompson’s deaths filter the incident through the logic of extremes that we associate with hate crimes.

Why, then, do these comments seem less accusatory than uncertain, as if their hosts are grasping for available formulas to make sense of what appears to many online commentators as “senseless” brutality?

Get the Story:
Melanie K. Yazzie: Brutal Violence in Border Towns Linked to Colonization (Indian Country Today 8/22)

Related Stories:
Column: Seeking answers for brutal murders of two Navajo men (08/07)
Memorial for Navajo men who were murdered in New Mexico (8/4)
Navajo Nation president calls for FBI probe of brutal murders (07/25)
Navajo Nation president to discuss brutal murders with mayor (7/24)
Navajo Nation officials seek meeting in response to murders (7/23)
Bail set at $5M for teens accused of murdering Navajo men (7/22)
Teens accused of killing homeless Navajo men in New Mexico (7/21)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
White House blasts Native American Energy Act ahead of vote (10/8)
House Natural Resources Committee approves two Indian bills (10/8)
First Nations Development Institute awards $250K for ranching (10/8)
Four Native chefs participate in unique food event in New Mexico (10/8)
Native Sun News: Lone Indian voice opposes mountain lion hunt (10/8)
Lakota Country Times: Wind power comes to Rosebud community (10/8)
Delphine Red Shirt: Scandal shuts down program for Indian youth (10/8)
Vince Two Eagles: Native medicine goes back thousands of years (10/8)
Jay Daniels: Indian lands still face threat from state governments (10/8)
Steven Newcomb: Religious doctrine guides Indian law and policy (10/8)
Brian Pierson: Recent federal court decisions affecting Indian law (10/8)
Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation celebrate trust settlement (10/8)
Actor joked about taking tribal artifacts from ranch in New Mexico (10/8)
Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians gives $100K for cancer center (10/8)
Radio station brings news and more to Yankton Sioux Reservation (10/8)
Indian gaming industry grew 116 percent between 2001 and 2013 (10/8)
Arizona tribes on road to recovery with $1.81B in casino revenues (10/8)
Pojoaque Pueblo secures injunction in New Mexico casino dispute (10/8)
Little River Band sees off-reservation casino as boost for revenue (10/8)
Pioneering tribes share experiences with prosecuting non-Indians (10/7)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approves two bills at meeting (10/7)
Congress approves land-into-trust bill for Pueblos in New Mexico (10/7)
House Natural Resources Committee holds markup on Indian bills (10/7)
Native Sun News: Rival teams meet on football field at Pine Ridge (10/7)
Lakota Country Times: Tribes receive $940M in Ramah settlement (10/7)
James Giago Davies: Embrace distance running in Indian Country (10/7)
Brandon Ecoffey: Powerful forces aim to keep out the Native vote (10/7)
Thomas Perez: Youth on Wind River Reservation share high hopes (10/7)
Stephen Corry: Native people displaced for sake of 'conservation' (10/7)
States oppose tribal jurisdiction in upcoming Supreme Court case (10/7)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe challenges Indian education reforms (10/7)
Two indicted for death of Seminole Nation man who went missing (10/7)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe donates bottled water for city residents (10/7)
Mohegan Tribe swears in four council members following election (10/7)
Tribes in Amazon rainforest defend homeland from illegal loggers (10/7)
Chukchansi Tribe accused of illegal vote and casino preparations (10/7)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe suspends gaming official after arrest (10/7)
Tribes to share in Keno revenues under new deal with Connecticut (10/7)
Seminole Tribe remains in talks for new Class III gaming compact (10/7)
Controversy stirs as House takes up Native American Energy Act (10/6)
Native Sun News: Crow Tribe leader advises Rep. Zinke on energy (10/6)
Lakota Country Times: Program for Native students closes down (10/6)
Mark Trahant: Far too many missing and murdered Native women (10/6)
Alfred Walking Bull: Let's open up about suicide in Indian Country (10/6)
Raina Thiele: Alaska Natives share culture with President Obama (10/6)
Mary Pember: Fashion show tackles trafficking in Indian Country (10/6)
Torivio Fodder: Pope Francis ignores sins of Indian mission era (10/6)
Sac and Fox Nation disappointed by denial of Jim Thorpe case (10/6)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe expects big crowd for pot kickoff (10/6)
Colville Tribes pass resolution for small amounts of marijuana (10/6)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.