Our Fight Has Just Begun

This week's review examines generations of racial violence against the Navajo, unpacking the persistence of systemic racism and hidden stories of Indigenous activism.

Our Fight Has Just Begun: Hate Crimes and Justice in Native America

Bennett, Cheryl Redhorse. Arizona, 2022
232p bibl index, 9780816541683 $100.00, 9780816541676 $29.95, 9780816545216 $29.95

Our Fight Has Just Begun: Hate Crimes and Justice in Native America book cover. On top half of cover are people marching, holding a banner that says "MARCH FOR NAVAJO LIBERATION" in red. On the bottom half of the cover is the title in white lettering with a rust colored background.

Race, racism, and racially motivated violence have been integral components of the European colonial enterprises in the New World from the beginning. Historically, Indigenous peoples, conceived of as racially inferior, have been subjected to a multitude of ethnocidal and genocidal acts stemming from official policies as well as random acts of violence. Currently, Indigenous peoples continue to experience various forms of prejudice, discrimination, and violence. Employing a mixed-methods approach informed by an Indigenous decolonization paradigm, Bennett (Montana State Univ., Bozeman) focuses on racial violence committed against the Navajo in the Four Corners region of the US, especially incidents that took place in Farmington, NM. Using the 1974 Chokecherry Massacre of three Navajo men as a central point of analysis, this work grounds this hate crime and others within a historical framework spanning the Spanish conquest to American colonization to demonstrate the connective persistence of racial violence. This not only exposes the continuation of hate crimes but the failure of the justice system to atone for the wrongs done to victims and survivors, prompting Navajo activism. In addition to exposing and investigating hate crimes against Native Americans regionally, Bennett also offers a reference point for understanding contemporary issues of racial violence, underscoring the firm entrenchment of systemic racism.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers through faculty; professionals.
Reviewer: G. R. Campbell, University of Montana
Interdisciplinary Subject: Native American Studies, Racial Justice
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Choice Issue: Feb 2023

Enjoy this week’s review? Check out more reviews of related titles: