Recently, I signed a contract to teach a segment on stalking and threat assessment for three of six stalking symposiums produced by the CDAA (California District Attorney’s Assn.) The symposium’s attendees were district attorneys, law enforcement, and victim advocates. Each one of the district attorneys that attended all six conference was given one of my latest books Antidote For A Stalker as a guide. Due to the fact, that I am part Chocktaw and Chickasaw, I have always been interested in the ways of the Native people not only in North America, but elsewhere in the world, for a variety of reasons not the least of which is the fact that in my opinion this is a segment in all the world that is too often under-served by law enforcement.
One of the presenters for all six of the symposiums was Yeshelle Sparks. Yeshelle is the Tribal Advocate Regional Coordinator for the Inter-Tribal Council, her offices are located in Sonoma County California at the Sonoma County Indian Health Project.
I found Yeshelle’s presentation to be quite interesting. She advised that “American Indian and Native women are stalked at a rate at least twice that of any other race.” She advised that “17%” of American Indian and Alsakan Native Women are stalked in their lifetime, compared to about “8.2%” of white women, “6.5% of African American” women, and about “4.5% of Asian/Pacific Islander women.”
Yeshelle covered things like tribal sovereignty, the different types of tribal status, and who exactly has claims to being a Native American. She indicated that some of the major problems that transpired with any type of law enforcement intervention within the confines of the tribal community stemmed around law enforcement outside of those confines not understanding that specific tribes traditions and how tribal people responded to the norms and mores of the outside world. She also explained that even within the ranks of those communities that had tribal police, many would stay only a short time because once trained they could find better employment outside of the tribal world, thus creating a void within the response to issues brought up by those being affected by any type of criminal element not just those who were committing the crime of stalking.
From what I have gathered not just from Yeshelle, but other Native American persons that I have encountered while lecturing throughout California, and elsewhere, is that it is always helpful if the law enforcement entity assigned to handle any Native American or other Native tribal community, try and get up to speed before they try to interdict within the borders of that community. In other words learn what the traditions are. For example, find out who you need to contact first (say an elder or someone who may be the head of the victim’s household; unless of course that is your suspect) before you move in and start your investigation. If you have to move a victim from one place to another check to see if they currently have what Yeshelle referred to as “Regalia,” and how they want it to be handled. (Regalia is usually special ceremonial dress, and or ornamentation worn during a specific ritual, and has to be handled in a specific manner as to not cause issues with its aura for lack of a better term.) These are just some of the things one should be aware of when dealing with not only a Native culture, but any other culture for that matter. We state in our books and other writings that culture always plays a role in how law enforcement should proceed in their investigation of any crime. The more up to speed you are, the greater your chances of positive results.