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This Friday is Juneteenth, a national holiday in most states celebrating the end of slavery. There are planned protests around the Mountain West to keep attention on racial injustice and police brutality, including one on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.
“With all the demonstrations that are going on with Black Lives Matter, we should be right there in the talks with it, too,” said Brandon Fish, an organizer with the youth-led organization Voices For Change.
Indian Country suffers from racial biases and injustices, including the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people and the jurisdictional quagmire that results in crimes not being solved on the reservation.
“A lot of times when non-members commit a crime here on the reservation, more often than not, their crimes aren’t pursued because the Bureau of Indian Affairs only has jurisdiction over tribal members,” he said.
The group is organizing a rally this Friday in Browning, Mont., the largest community on the reservation. It hopes around 50 people will attend.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.