By | Rachel Brooks
Editor and Staff Reporter | Republic Underground
Above, a murial to the political thought of the CHOP Zone inside Seattle, summer of 2020. CC By SA 4.0 International.
The Indigenous American community has long struggled in the wake of Seattle’s hard times. Those most vulnerable in this community live on the streets of Seattle at “disproportionate” rates, as stated by Chief Seattle Club and originally OZY in January. When they go missing_and they go missing also at “disproportionate” rates, the trail drops off cold almost before the first few yards are blazed.
Summer 2020 saw another startling set of circumstances swarm around the Indigenous community with the CHOP zone rising up around them. Now, as Seattle employs former pimp and American Pimp star Andre Taylor as a “street czar”, the community again lives in dread of new, compounded hard times. The concern is that of a double jeopardy for the effort of stabilizing the rates of violence against Indigenous in the area.
On the one hand, the Indigenous community wonders what their safety issues will be as a former felon who helped CHOP demand money from the city, citing Fox News, in a place of authority. The other hand has this community wondering what the renewed jeopardy becomes to formal missing persons investigations in this area with the lapse and lack of an organized police force.
The Chief Seattle Club report states that the proportion of King County’s homeless people that are Indigenous Americans has risen by two-thirds in just two years. This was citing 2019’s Post-in times or PIT
Political anchors and spokespersons have blasted the city of Seattle for hiring a former felon and convicted child sex trafficker to Seattle’s new understanding of civil service workers. Fox News shared criticism by Mark Steyn on the incident. Steyn called it “a joke” alternative to police force.
That joke appears to have been played on the Indigenous Americans of Seattle, who lead national statistics of minority groups subject to violent crime. Most especially, women and girls are at risk of victimization_the same gender and age demographics that Seattle’s so-called “street czar”has been accused of offending against.
The Urban Indian Health Institute conducted a report in 2018 that gave a perspective of the Indigenous American woman or girl’s plight in 71 urban cities. This report was a collection of “snapshot data” for crimes against Indigenous women. The report also included data from the Our Bodies, Our Stories initiative of UIHI, which targeted reports of the skyrocketing rates and risk of sexual violence against Indigenous women_the selfsame category of violence for which the “street czar” has been convicted of both buying and selling in.
The UIHI found that, because of the spotty data on the subject, the 506 cases that the report conducted regarding violence against Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls or MMIWG was likely a severe underestimate. The report found that, as of 2016, 5,172 cases of missing or murdered Indigneous women and girls were reported, and of those, only 116 were actually logged into the Department of Justice database.
The statistics of this report show that murder was the third leading cause of death for Indigenous women and girls as of 2018.
Now, with the abolition of official police forces, Indigenous rights activists as well as human trafficking survivor’s leaders look toward Seattle with a growing sense of anxiety. Organizations such as Missing and Murdered Native Americans, a group that posts missing Indigenous persons cases in real time, state that they have increased their own community surveillance of Seattle in preparation for what the street czar’s position may entail for Indigenous people. Missing and Murdered Native American states “there is a direct and proven link between MMIW cases and human trafficking.”
Likewise, the Indigenous community have concern that their voices will be drowned out of the discussion as Seattle residents, whose politics trend to a decidedly left-leaning bias, laud the arrival of a “Street Czar” who understands the streets, see The Post Millennial.
While the Street Czar claims his life has reached a place of reformation due to meeting his wife, the cause for concern remains. Missing and Murdered Indigenous programs receive support directly from the FBI and DOJ’s coordination with local formal police forces. The absence of certain chapters of police in favor of more progressive forms of policing may jeopardize the active system of cooperation on Missing and Murdered Indigenous cases in Washington.
The Washington State Patrol issued an official report on this subject in 2019, thereby marking the law enforcement agency as an asset to MMIWG. The Washington State Patrol mitigated meetings with the 29 tribes of Washington State to create and mediate discussions with the tribes on the issue. Defund police cries raise fears over the functionality of such premier law enforcement agencies as WSP.
Caught between the unprecedented need of mediation from civil service for their missing, and such civil servants as “The Street Czar”, Indigenous members of the Seattle community now weigh the stakes and strategize their internal community response to a Washington State post traditional police force.