Journalist Rebecca Clarren shares insights into the culture of fear in Indian Country she experienced in central Oregon while reporting for InvestigateWest and The Nation on the topic of punitive discipline and substandard curricula at a Native American public school.
Award-winning reporter Rebecca Clarren tells what it’s like to leave young children at home to go on a reporting trip for InvestigateWest’s Indian Country series.
I was on deadline, with all of the accompanying signs of the d-word: sweaty palms, clenched gut, my children watching too much television while I worked overtime, when I realized, with two days until the issue closed, I was facing an intractable roadblock. To ensure the accuracy of one sentence in the story, I would have to visit each federally recognized Native American tribe and Alaska Native community in the United States. That’s 567 tribes in nearly as many locations. The article, “Reckoning with the ‘Native Harvey Weinsteins,’” which will be published tomorrow, is about the unique circumstances that make it difficult for tribal members who experience sex discrimination in Indian Country to report and end abuse. Part of the issue is that as a nod to tribal sovereignty, Congress has exempted tribes from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the law that prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and assault, in the workplace. Tribes can of course write their own codes, filling this void with culturally appropriate laws that protect tribal employees and as part of my research I had tried to determine just how many tribes had done so.
| With The Nation
Native American children struggle in school because they are more likely to be disciplined and suffer other discriminatory treatment