THE UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
March 16, 2010
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(Photo: Lenny Foster on Earthcycles radio at AIM West San Francisco/Photo by Brenda Norrell)
American Indian Religious and Spiritual Practices in the United States Prison System
Lenny Foster (Dine’)
Navajo Nation Corrections Project
"Recent studies show approximately 26,000 Native Americans incarcerated in twenty three states with significant Native American populations. In the thirty years I have counseled approximately two thousand American Indian prisoners by visits to various state departments of corrections; I have both witnessed and experienced the harassment, interference, indifference, intimidation and discrimination toward our Native traditional beliefs and the right to worship in a traditional manner as practiced by our ancestors. If Native prisoners are denied access to their traditional practices and beliefs, incarceration will be merely “warehousing” the Native prisoners and the emotional, psychological, and spiritual well- being will never be fully realized.
I have observed anger, rage, resentment and emotional pain exhibited by Native inmates that are the result of being reared in dysfunctional environments and exposed to and engaging in addictive behavior. The psychological and emotional pain has decimated the Indian Nations across the United States. The intergenerational trauma has had a very drastic impact on Indian communities which has resulted in many individuals lacking a strong sense of self identity and self-esteem."
Thanks to Tony Gonzales, AIM West, for sending this to Censored News.