Law and disorder on the reservation

first_imgAt Harvard Law School (HLS) Nov. 8 for the first day of a two-day conference titled “Tribal Courts and the Federal System,” Troy Eid, chairman of the Indian Law and Order Commission (ILOC) started his talk with a quiz.The share of all juveniles in federal detention that are Native American, answered by a student from Tufts: two-thirds.True: Most Native American juveniles are transferred to federal custody, even when tribes want to charge them locally, due to the Major Crimes Act of 1885 and the Juvenile Justice Act of 1938.“[This] has been treated as if it cannot change, like the tablets of Moses,” said Eid, whose commission, established by the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, has spent the past year interviewing members of more than half of the federally recognized tribes in the country in preparation for a report to be delivered to the president and Congress.How many Native American juveniles are tried and sentenced as adults? Thirty-two percent. Off reservation, the number is 2 percent.“We’re still using a late colonial model,” Eid explained. “In some instances, they are termination models.”Problems, Eid said, include systemic underfunding, jurisdictional complexity, and lack of consistent support, access to federal courts, and reliable data.In trips to four reservations in Alaska, to villages not connected by roads and frozen for much of the year, the commission found scant Internet service, $16 quarts of milk, and gas at $12 a gallon. The official unemployment rate: 80 percent. So the bulk of Native sustenance comes from hunting and fishing — yet tribes are subjected to laws and treaties that restrict their fishing, severely in some cases.“The entire system is designed as if these indigenous people do not exist,” Eid told the conference.“This isn’t about race,” he continued. “This is about basic political integrity and autonomy.”The conference was the first of its kind at Harvard Law School, bringing together tribal judges, scholars, and policymakers. The audience of about 50 included tribal members of the Harvard community, professors, and students from Harvard and neighboring universities. It was streamed to 200 viewers via the Federal Bar.Carole Goldberg — 2006 Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor at Harvard; vice chancellor, University of California, Los Angeles; and ILOC commissioner — followed Eid.Federal-tribal criminal justice is “a complex maze” of multiple systems, “created piecemeal over time,” “imposed,” and “alien to locals,” she said.Goldberg said that “major restructuring” needs to happen. Justice, she said, should be culturally appropriate and include intergovernmental cooperation, respect, and trust.A talk by Kristen Carpenter, professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, and a 1998 graduate of HLS, covered the importance of decriminalizing Indian religions.Carpenter focused on U.S. v. Winslow Friday, which addressed a violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Friday had killed a bald eagle for worship purposes, without obtaining the proper permit. The case, eventually sent to a tribal court, illustrated complexities at the crossroads of Native American religious freedom and the protection of wildlife.The keynote speaker was Kevin Washburn, of the Chickasaw Nation, recently confirmed assistant secretary for Indian affairs and Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor at Harvard in 2007-08.Washburn stressed that economic development can decrease crime on a reservation, and said that he is confident tribal leaders are better able to make decisions on local allocation of resources than he can in D.C.The ILOC’s report, to include recommendations for improvements to the system, is expected to be presented to the president and Congress in April.last_img read more

Postponing the Olympic Games: it’s complicated

first_imgThe Tokyo Olympics appears to be creeping towards a postponement, an unprecedented and costly exercise that involves ripping up years of planning. As International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach told Germany’s SWR: “Postponing the Olympic Games is not like moving a football game to next Saturday.”Here are just some of the challenges:  One potential clash is the World Athletics Championships, currently scheduled for August 2021 in the United States — a lucrative pay-day for athletes and TV networks.Swimming is also scheduled to hold its World Championships in Japan from July 16 to August 1, 2021.Adding to the crowded schedule is football’s European Championships, already postponed from 2020 to 2021.Olympic legend Carl Lewis has put the case for holding the Summer Games in 2022 alongside that year’s Winter Games in Beijing, creating a “celebratory Olympic year”. Venues There are 43 Olympic sites — some temporary, some purpose-built, others repurposed for the Tokyo 2020 Games — and all of them present difficulties in the event of a postponement.The IOC highlighted this as one of the main concerns, warning: “A number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available anymore.”For example, one of the main selling points of the brand new 68,000-seater Olympic Stadium was that it would hold “cultural and sporting events” after the Games were over. Any such event would now need to be moved if it clashes with a rescheduled Games.And it’s not just sporting venues. Organizers have block-booked the enormous Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center to host the thousands of international journalists covering the Games.This is one of Asia’s premier venues for hosting large-scale conferences, and is booked many months in advance. Finding a suitable slot or persuading others to move could also be a challenge. Hotels Among the “many, many” challenges the IOC mentioned, it highlighted that “the situations with millions of nights already booked in hotels is extremely difficult to handle”.In fact, one of the concerns before the coronavirus hit was a possible dearth of hotel rooms. One idea was to park a cruise ship offshore for emergency accommodation — now surely a non-starter given the experience with cruise ships and the virus.Hotel rooms have been block-booked in advance for many months. Many have paid a large deposit in advance and could face losing this, in addition to having to re-book quickly for a postponed date.The hotel industry would also face huge uncertainty if the Games are delayed, adding to the headache already posed by a catastrophic drop in tourism. Athletes’ village A major question mark hangs over the athletes’ village, which occupies some prime real estate overlooking Tokyo Bay with a view of the city skyline and its famous Rainbow Bridge.It will have 21 towers of between 14 and 18 floors with a total capacity of 18,000 beds during the Olympics and 8,000 for the Paralympics.The plan was to renovate and convert the village into thousands of luxury condos, which are being sold off or put up for rent.According to the website of the Harumi Flag developers, some 4,145 units were to be put up for sale. Viewings and sales of a first batch of 940 apartments began in summer 2019 and the vast majority have already been snapped up, according to Japanese media.Postponement would mean delaying the renovation process and huge uncertainty for those who have already signed contracts — including whether force majeure clauses would be triggered.center_img Competition scheduling As specialist website Inside the Games put it, the Olympics “gravitate around… a four-year cycle. If you wake up and the sun is in a completely different place, there are going to be consequences”.Much depends on the length of any postponement but shoehorning an Olympics into what is already a packed sporting calendar in 2021, for example, will be a logistical nightmare for both athletes, administrators and broadcasters. Any silver linings? A postponement by a few months to later in 2020 might solve what had previously been the biggest concern over the Tokyo Olympics: the sweltering heat of the Japanese summer.It could even be conceivable to move the marathon back to Tokyo after it was shifted to the northern city of Sapporo amid fears over athletes’ safety in the summer heat and humidity of the Japanese capital.However, going ahead in the autumn would also put the Olympics in prime typhoon season — as the Rugby World Cup found out to its cost last year.A delay could also give sporting federations more time to prepare qualifying events, addressing one of the main concerns voiced by athletes. Topics :last_img read more