U. S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs 810 Seventh Street, N. W. Washington, D. C. 20531 Janet Reno

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Relationship to Victimization

The disproportionate amount of victim vulnerability that is recognized today can be traced to the policies and procedures initiated by early explorers and missionaries, and sustained by the federal government. The government has not had a consistent policy toward Native people but rather haphazardly shifted policy. The effect on the Native population has been devastating. The transition that Native people have experienced has changed the political, economic, social, cultural, and spiritual pathways that previously served to hold tribal groups together and provided the structure for recourse and control. The government used boarding schools, missions, agents, treaties and removal to undermine the structure of tribes, which eventually impacted unity and stability of the family and the ability of the Native communities to govern themselves, hold criminal behavior accountable, and determine justice. These policies and procedures have created a vast wasteland that has jeopardized Native communities’ ability to function in a protective manner. Native people struggle and find it nearly impossible to respond adequately to violence in their communities. Cultural colonialism was the process that preceded the disintegration of the traditional concept of Native communities and the ability for them to care and protect their members.

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