Indian rolling

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[1]

Indian rolling (or Injun rollin')[2][3] is the assault, and in some cases murder, of Navajo and Apache, often of homeless individuals,[4] committed by non-Indians in the Southwestern United States, particularly in the border towns surrounding the Navajo Nation and Jicarilla lands. The term is a euphemism alluding to the practice of throwing — or "rolling"— the victims' bodies off a cliff after the attack. In her 2006 dissertation, Lisa Donaldson classifies Indian rolling as a "thrill-seeking hate crime" and traces its roots to the colonization of the Southwest which created a "power differential between groups that led to negative feelings toward minorities among law enforcement and local citizens".[3]

The assaults, which often target alcoholic men who are comparatively defenseless, are variously described as representing "rites of passage",[2] "sport,"[5] and a "recreational pastime"[3] to the perpetrators. Survivors report the act involves being assaulted with rocks, pellet guns, bottles, eggs, and baseball bats. Victims claim, furthermore, that law enforcement officials often refuse to intervene.[6]

The term first came to public notoriety in the spring of 1974 when three Navajos were beaten and murdered[5] by white teenagers in the city of Farmington, New Mexico, and their mutilated bodies were subsequently found in a nearby canyon.[2] The perpetrators were not convicted of murder but were sent to a reform school. Protests by tribal members against this apparent injustice turned into riots when permits to march peacefully were revoked or not granted.[7] The incident triggered a report by the New Mexico Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and inspired the true crime-novel The Broken Circle—A True Story of Murder and Magic in Indian Country by Rodney Barker.[6][8]

Concerns about the practice's revival emerged in the 2000s after a resurgence of attacks against Native Americans in the area.[2][9] Assaults have allegedly taken place in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Page and Gallup.[1]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Linthicum, Leslie. Dirty Secrets Emerge After 'Indian Rolling'. Albuquerque Journal. 19 July 2009. Accessed 2011-03-26.
  2. ^ a b c d Nieves, Evelyn. In Navajo country, racism rides again. salon.com 2 September 2006.
  3. ^ a b c Donaldson, Lisa Weber. "Indian rolling": White violence against Native Americans in Farmington, New Mexico. Dissertation (Publication 3220935). University of New Mexico, 2006.
  4. ^ Linthicum, Leslie. Dirty Secrets Emerge After 'Indian Rolling'. Albuquerque Journal. 19 July 2009. Accessed 2011-03-26.
  5. ^ a b Linthicum, Leslie. Farmington Struggles With Civil Rights Issues. Albuquerque Journal. 1 May 2004. Accessed 2011-03-26.
  6. ^ a b Banish, Laura. Homeless: ‘Indian rolling’ still takes place today. The Daily Times. Farmington. 23 April 2004.
  7. ^ Research Report: Navajo Community and Farmington, New Mexico (2006). The Pluralism Project at Harvard University. Accessed 2011-03-26.
  8. ^ Barker, Rodney. The Broken Circle—A True Story of Murder and Magic in Indian Country. Simon & Schuster. New York: 1992.
  9. ^ Draper, Electa. Attacks recall racist history of N.M. town. Denver Post. 13 July 2006.

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