Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hale calls on Brnovich, Ducey to reconsider state’s involvement in Supreme Court case involving alleged violence against a Native American youth

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), recently sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, urging them to reconsider the state’s involvement in a U.S. Supreme Court case involving reported sexual violence against a Native American youth who resides on the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians reservation.

Hale wrote that he is “greatly dismayed” that the Attorney General’s Office and, by extension, the state, signed onto Oklahoma’s friend of the court brief supporting Dollar General Corporation in its case against the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Hale called these actions “disrespectful.”

“Arizona should stay out of the Native American affairs in Mississippi,” Hale said. “Tribal institutions have an obligation to protect Native American children from on-reservation sexual violence, and the Dollar General case is about just that. It is wrong that a child cannot seek justice in his home judicial system simply because he lives on a Native American reservation.”

Hale added that he is raising these concerns on behalf of the Native Americans who live within the eight Indian Nations he represents in Legislative District 7.

“I am urging these leaders to reconsider their decision and withdraw from this offensive legal brief,” Hale said. “I am also calling on both the attorney general and the governor to meet immediately with the leaders of the Indian Nations in Arizona to discuss this matter and recommit to a mutual relationship of respect and recognition of sovereign rights.”

Hale also sent a copy of the letter to other community leaders in Arizona and the country, including the Navajo Nation and the National Conference of Native American State Legislators.

“This is case is an assault on the sovereignty of Native American Nations,” Hale said. “We must take an immediate stand.”
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Rep. Hale is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. He was born in Ganado and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (Salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water). His maternal grandparents are Hanaghani (Walk About clan). His paternal grandparents are Kiyanii (Tall House clan). He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977), and an honorary Juris Doctor degree from Phoenix School of Law (2012).  He is the former President of the Navajo Nation.

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