Native American Suggests He Was Profiled By Arizona Police: ‘New Bill Targets People Of My Color’

Since Arizona enacted a set of draconian immigration laws which many claim will “exacerbate racial-profiling,” much of the focus has been on the effect its implementation will have on the state’s Latino population. However, along with being home to almost two million Latinos, Arizona has the second largest total Native American population of any state. While Native American tribes possess claims to Arizona lands that date back farther than any other group, they are often racially profiled and mistaken for undocumented immigrants of Latin American descent.

Freelance journalist and investigator Sarah Reynolds forwarded Wonk Room a video interview that she obtained with one Native American who is protesting Arizona’s new law after having been racially profiled himself. Vee Newton, who identifies himself as a Native American, told Reynolds that he was stopped at a police check point in Arizona after cops let blonde-haired people in the three cars ahead of him go by:

There was three vehicles in front of me and all the [people in the] vehicles in front of me had blonde hair. And they let them go by, but they stopped me…and they pulled me over and asked me questions about what country I was from. They asked me where I was coming from and where am I going and what am I doing. The questions were stated to me in a tone that I felt was very degrading to me. So I simply stated to them that I am a native of America, I am a native to the land and I am Native American.

This new bill targets people of my color. […] It creates racial profiling and Native American people fall under that.


Newton, who was wearing traditional Native American attire during the interview, pointed out that if he wore “something more comfortable,” he would “be pulled over easily.”

Newton is not alone in his opposition. Indian Country Today reports that “many American Indians [are] alarmed that tribal sovereignty has been violated, with the looming possibility that individual liberties will be threatened.” John Lewis, director of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona stated, “This [law] impacts all indigenous people, and the lawmakers need to know it.” Ian Record, an education manager with the Native Nations Institute, further pointed out that “It has to be greatly concerning to everyone that law-abiding citizens of those nations are likely to be pulled over.”


Finally, Robert Warrior, the Osage president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, highlighted the implicit irony of the law, claiming, “It ought to go without saying that some of the people most impacted by this invidious law are descended from peoples who lived in the Sonoran Desert centuries before anyone even thought of the United States.”

It’s also worth noting that a study by the ACLU on racial profiling in Arizona found that “while African-Americans, Latinos, Native-Americans and Asian-Americans are more likely to be stopped and searched by law enforcement on suspicion of carrying contraband, whites were actually more likely to be carrying contraband.”

Andrea Christina Nill

Crossposted with permission from the Wonk Room.


  1. Outraged in Arizona says

    Last week I was in Phoenix and Scottsdale on vacation for 5 days and got pulled over TWICE by the cops.
    First time because my rental did not have a licence plate, only a temporary one, but they said it was for speeding, which it wasn’t true; so much so, they didn’t even give me a ticket for that.
    The second time, I pulling up to my hotel and he follows me up to vallet and says the reason is that I had to pull closer to the curb before I turned.
    What a bunch of bull crap! I never get pulled over, and having it happening twice in 5 days I felt harressed. I am a latino tourist and I feel like this whole thing has turned into a major witch hunt.
    If they continue to do this, what is going to happen is allianation of the state of AZ because tourists will not be going back to a place they go to relax and they end up getting harressed by the police every other day!
    I just want to get the word out there!

  2. Elaine says

    Please read the bill. It is not what you think it is. They are not pulling people over for no reason. They had the rancher shot & killed, people & children being kidnapped. They shot a cop the other night when he found a bunch of marjuinina being smuggled in. What do you want them to do? Take it? I think they are tired of taking it & that Janet Napolitano going on TV saying the border is in better shape then it was is standing there & lying with a straight face, trying to tell the world that the Governor & McCain is lying. I hate for people to make a judgement on something they have no knowledge of. I suggest that Ignacio De La Fuent who thinks Arizona is wrong take a bunch of busses down there & sit on the border & pick these people up along with the Drug Cartel & all their drugs & take them back to Oakland where he is. He is so sure these people have rights to come in & kill & kidnap & move their drugs on through the system. He can keep them out there & pay for their crimes & drugs & all their wants.

    • wg2k1 says

      Stopping drug trafficking is not the same thing as dealing with immigration problems.

      Why can’t some people tell the difference between a drug trafficker gangster and a regular person who wants to work in the US.

    • jediofthedesert says

      True, I am from Arizona, and I agree!!! Thanks :)
      These people are breaking the law! There have been deaths of innocent people living near the border along with home invasions. It is often in our news, people living near the border who have been harmed or killed by illegal immigrants and illegal traffickers. Most countries immigration policies, laws, requirements are far more strict than that of the US. If a person chooses not to lawfully apply for a visa and citizenship and instead to unethically and dishonorably sneak in, then they do not belong and should not be allowed to stay no matter where they come from! The latin people believe most of Arizona was taken from mexico, by force, a popular sentiment among the legal and illegal latin immigrant population, forgetting that these lands were originally taken from indigenous people by latin immigrants (conquistadors) from europe who invaded north, central and south america and who took this land forcefully from its people. People have forgotten the vaqueros (cowboys) forcing indians off their lands and latin people who had no hesitation in buying or claiming stolen indian lands (the origins of the cowboys (vaqueros) vs. indians). The latin people originally invaded and conquered this land by force, and now they attempt to invade, in a sneaky, dishonorable and unlawful way and reside here illegally. Hypocritical much? Latin immigrants STOP your whining!, where is your memory? honor? and integrity? Aztlan is not an indigenous movement!!! it is a continued consistent latin invasion…and without valid claim …their belief that this land belongs to them is a lie in the same manner as manifest destiny or zionism! …mexico obtained the land purchased from them by the US through conquer and conquest!!! …that which is stolen does not rightfully belong to the thief despite their delusions and false claims!!!

  3. says

    Arizona’s “papers please” law is a loser, but that doesn’t change the need of the U.S. to control its borders, not against decent hard-working Mexicans, but terrorists from overseas. Leaving Mexico in its current backward state with an incurably corrupt govt. that is virtually a criminal enterprise is a far greater security problem, and while the U.S. could conquer it militarily to dissolve it, that would risk alienating the Mexican people, who are mainly our allies and friends with many family ties. Why not try just asking them to voluntarily dissolve their govt. in exchange for full citizenship and incorporation as several new U.S. states, allowing the border to expand to the oceans where real control is possible, after which Marshall Plan type aid can create the necessary infrastructure to attract mass southward migration to a New California, New Florida, New Arizona, New Texas etc., creating millions of new jobs for all 414 million Americans? Study my bipartisan Megamerge Dissolution Solution to see how it can be done instead of wasting time on the current non-solutions and strife:

    • wg2k1 says

      The last two people they busted for terrorism were a white woman in PA, and a Pakistani man who came over on a student visa, eventually attained citizenship, and basically followed the rules to become an immigrant. In fact, you could say that, as a student and H1B, he was among the “elite” of immigrants.

      Neither of these people were anywhere near the Mexico border. In fact, they were much closer to the Canadian border, but probably never saw that either.

  4. MdeG says

    Are we not surprised. This was inevitable. One would hope the governor would have the wits to realize so, but seemingly not …

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