Ahead of the MLB All-Star game, the city of San Diego placed sharp rocks below underpasses and other bridges frequented by homeless folks in order to deter them from camping out there as they usually do. The idea is to clean up the city and make it more presentable when a major event is in town. This is common practice around the world, and occurs any time you’re going to have a large group of tourists in your town. To this day downtown Salt Lake City is still in incredibly beautiful shape since the 2002 Olympic games, and the issues which plagued it prior to ’02 have largely been pushed out of that particular region.
A lot of people have a problem with this, but I don’t. Homeless or otherwise destitute or jobless may be in a bad situation personally, but this does not provide a good excuse for hindering commerce from society’s most productive members. A city’s positive vibe can encourage tourism, hotel occupancy, and revenue for local businesses. Tax revenue collected from this increased commerce means more funds to assist those who need it the most.
Then we have the town of Wolf Point, which hosts the annual “Wild Horse Stampede“. This is a major event and certainly falls under the criteria listed above. I understand wanting the less desirable residents out of sight and bringing down everyone’s moods. Tourism, especially in such a small town, is incredibly important and I agree that every effort should be made to ensure the rodeo is as successful as possible.
Being that the population is over 50% natives, I’m even willing to overlook racism and say that hassling the town homeless and drunkards isn’t racist simply because they all happen to be Native Americans. However, according to this news story, it isn’t a simple case of cleaning up the city ahead of an event.
Where San Diego put measures in place that discouraged homeless encampments, these fine folks of Wolf Point decided to actually arrest the whole lot of them. This would be one thing if they had actually broken any laws, been booked into the jail system, and given court dates to answer for their crimes before a duly appointed officer of the court. However, the arrests of 30-50 people were done unofficially and not recorded at all. The individuals were charged with no crimes, and were not being held for suspicion in any crimes. The casual language used toward these people by the arresting officers and town officials is a clear indicator that race indeed played a factor as well. Referring to the arrests as the “Wino Roundup” and calling those arrested names such as Tree People or Prairie Niggers is simply beyond the line.
Officers, who allegedly covered their name badges in tape, transported prisoners to two outdoor basketball courts where the women were provided a pot to relieve themselves, while men were told to use the restroom through the fence. When a torrential rainstorm began, they were collectively moved to a windowless garage and simple released the next day.
Shockingly, these folks somehow feel their civil rights have been violated and a lawsuit has been filed on their behalf. Assuming their story is true, I have to agree with that assessment. Click here to download this week’s audio file as Brandon and I discuss this situation and offer more compelling commentary and opinions.
Cliff and Brandon are registered members of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and host the Tribal Podcast each and every week with his brother Brandon with all our past episodes available online. They talk about native issues in the news and anything of interest to Native Americans!
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