Huffington Post: 13 Issues Facing Native People Beyond Mascots And Casinos

Most of the recent headlines about indigenous Americans have had to do with a certain D.C. football team, or a surpassingly dumb Adam Sandler movie, or casinos of the kind operated by the fictional Ugaya tribe on "House of Cards." And we're not saying these issues don't matter. But beyond the slot machines, the movie sets and the football fields, there are other problems facing Native communities -- insidious, systemic, life-or-death problems; the kinds of problems it takes years and votes and marches to resolve -- that aren't getting nearly as much attention.

There are 567 tribes, including 229 Alaska Native communities, currently recognized by the federal government. The Bureau of Indian Affairs -- the primary federal agency in charge of relations with indigenous communities -- is also considering extending federal status to Native Hawaiians.

Each of the federally recognized tribes is a nation unto itself -- sovereign, self-determining and self-governing -- that maintains a government-to-government relationship with the United States. In addition, the rights of all indigenous peoples, including Native Hawaiians, have been affirmed in a 2007 United Nations declaration. Each indigenous nation has a distinct history, language and culture. While many face concerns that are specific to their government, state, or region, there are certain issues that affect all Native communities throughout the United States -- from Hawaii to Maine, and Alaska to Florida. Here are 13 such issues that you probably aren't hearing enough about.

Native Americans face issues of mass incarceration and policing.

Thanks in large part to the Black Lives Matter movement, which has insisted that demands for justice and equality for the black community remain part of the national conversation, there is now growing momentum to address the issues of policing and mass incarceration. But while the brutalization of black Americans at the hands of police, and their maltreatment within the criminal justice system, have garnered national headlines, similar injustices against Native Americans have gone largely unreported.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/13-native-american-issues_55b7d801e4b0074ba5a6869c