The Indigenous Rights Center engages in an array of projects, all of which are designed to improve the lives of Indigenous Peoples in the United States.  If you like what you see here, please support our work by making a tax-deductible donation.  No amount is too small.  You may also mail a check or money order made payable to the Indigenous Rights Center to 1421 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106.

Justice Initiative

Available data on victimization, prosecution, sentencing, imprisonment and other indicia, in the U.S. show continuing and intolerably discriminatory disparities between Indigenous Peoples and people of other races, colors, and national or ethnic origins. Indigenous Peoples in the United States (American Indians/Native Americas, Hawaiian Natives and Alaska Natives) endure the highest incarceration rate of any racial or ethnic group, at 38 percent higher than the national rate. Available statistics indicate that rates for youth are even higher. Read our paper “Racial Discrimination by the Criminal Justice System Against Indigenous Peoples in the United States” (June 2014) for more information.

We educate the public about the range of issues faced by Native Americans who become involved with the criminal justice system and provide information and referrals to Indigenous prisoners (and their families) based on their needs.  Topics of inquiry include but are not limited to legal aid, reporting of human rights violations, and resources related to freedom of religion in correctional institutions.

We also provide telephone information and referrals on issues related to parole or other forms of early release and reentry.

The intent of our justice initiative is only to provide general information. The information we provide is not legal advice and cannot replace the advice of licensed and competent legal counsel.

General Assistance and Holiday Gift Drive

We manage assistance programs all year long to serve reservations and also meet the needs of economically disadvantaged and homeless Indians in the Albuquerque area.  During the winter months, we award heating assistance grants to reservation residents.  During the holiday season, we sponsor a gift drive to benefit children and youth of all ages on several Indian reservations in the United States.

Native American Corrections Project

The practice of Native American spirituality in prison offers benefits to both the Native American prisoners and to the prison systems. Traditional spiritual practices benefit Native American prisoners to an extent that no other type of prison sponsored program has done before.  Native American prisoners who participate in sweats and other native ceremonies benefit through rehabilitative changes, reductions in alcoholism and anti-social behavior, decreased recidivism rate, and improved self-esteem and dignity.  The IRC supports the work of spiritual advisors who regularly visit state and federal prisons to provide spiritual guidance and perform ceremonies for Native prisoners.  We also offer assistance to family members when loved ones are incarcerated over 500 miles from home (making it difficult for Indigenous prisoners to maintain important community ties).  In both instances, we award small grants for transportation, lodgings, and meals and other incidental expenses.