To the Editor,
I am a UK citizen and a friend and pen pal of a Native American man called Wade Bowles who has been incarcerated both unjustly and without the proper jurisdiction in a State Penitentiary in South Dakota since 2009 and has still a lot more years to serve. In Wade’s case he was defending himself against attack but it is nevertheless the PRINCIPLE as well as the specifics of Wade’s individual situation that are important here. He and his other American Indian co-inmates incarcerated in Mike Durfee State Prison have been charged under State Law, without the due jurisdiction since American Indians in South Dakota have recourse to either Tribal or Federal jurisdiction only. Under the Civil Rights Act PL90-284 the State has no jurisdiction in Indian Country in S.D. and this results in wrongful incarcerations, an anomaly at best and a violation of human rights at worst.
My friend and his American Indian co-inmates have been patiently petitioning for their release but so far no joy. He now awaits a response from an appeal to the South Dakota State Supreme Court. Therefore, the situation needs to be urgently addressed by Federal, State and Tribal Authorities and it would be a positive step to publish this letter.
Ms Eleanor Lakew