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Injustice in Indian Country

Jurisdiction, American Law, and Sexual Violence Against Native Women


Amy L. Casselman

Living at the intersection of multiple identities in the United States can be dangerous. This is especially true for Native women who live on the more than 56 million acres that comprise America’s Indian Country – the legal term for American Indian reservations and other land held in trust for Native people.
Today, due to a complicated system of criminal jurisdiction, non-Native Americans can commit crimes against American Indians in much of Indian Country with virtual impunity. This has created what some call a modern day «hunting ground» in which Native women are specifically targeted by non-Native men for sexual violence.
In this urgent and timely book, author Amy L. Casselman exposes the shameful truth of how the American government has systematically divested Native nations of the basic right to protect the people in their own communities. A problem over 200 years in the making, Casselman highlights race and gender in federal law to challenge the argument that violence against Native women in Indian country is simply collateral damage from a complex but necessary legal structure. Instead, she demonstrates that what’s happening in Indian country is part of a violent colonial legacy – one that has always relied on legal and sexual violence to disempower Native communities as a whole.
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Praise for Injustice in Indian Country


“In Injustice in Indian Country, Amy L. Casselman reveals that the long, ugly and ignoble history of violence against indigenous people is not over, but continues today in the form of rampant sexual violence by non-Native men against Native women. These rarely prosecuted assaults are not the product of aberrant acts by isolated individuals, but rather reflect the cumulative consequences of centuries of legal, social, and administrative policies and practices designed to protect white men from accountability for victimizing Native women. Drawing deftly on ideas and analyses developed by a wide range of indigenous feminist activists and scholars and their allies, Casselman makes an astute and sophisticated case for a comprehensive decolonial and intersectional politics grounded in the direct experiences and articulated aspirations of Native women.”

—George Lipsitz, Author of How Racism Takes Place

“One of the most significant roles of sovereign nations is to protect the safety of its citizens. This important new work looks deeply into the dynamics of legal and sexual violence created by federal Indian policy. It reframes our understanding of the gendered nature of colonial violence in a poignant and compelling narrative. The author’s engaging outline of decolonial frameworks developed by American Indian women makes an essential contribution to anti-violence movements. ”

—Donna Martinez, Professor and Chair, Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado Denver

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