I just received my UltraViolet today. Thank you so much for including my call to action for the Native American community regarding the RLUIPA (Religious Land Use of Institutionalized Persons Act) violations here at SPC Dublin. Here’s an update.
The Associate Wardens DESTROYED the confiscated regalia. (Regalia is the ceremonial clothing and accoutrements used in ceremony.) All those items donated by volunteers, all those items lovingly hand sown, all those items passed down for the last 20 years – GONE. Why after 20 years is this such a “security” concern? I will tell you why. In Sept. 2017, 2 women decided to walk off the Camp compound. They were wearing grey sweatpants – not Native American regalia. Unfortunately both of these women were part of the Native community here. So the entire Native American population is being punished. The consequences/punishment for our community equals racial profiling. Commissary is of course still selling the grey sweats. This is not the first incident of racial profiling here at Dublin Camp. In July 2017, a couple of Pacific Islanders were suspected of smoking (nothing was ever proved) and due to this, every Islander’s room was searched. But in December of 2017 when an older white lady was caught bringing in contraband, was the entire Caucasian population searched or punished? Of course not.
The destruction of our regalia is complete disrespect and sacrilege. The Catholic Priest is allowed his ceremonial clothing, why aren’t we? We (at the Camp) did not have our annual pow wow [this year]. We did not have a drum group come in like previous years and we did not have any outside guests such as the Aztec dancers. The pow-wow is a protected ceremony by BOP (Bureau of Prisons) policy. However, the necessary accoutrements are NOT protected by BOP policy. However, nor are they prohibited. I filed the BP-9 which goes to the warden, except in this case the associate warden answered denying my request. This is a definite conflict of interest on his part.
I have reached out to several organizations, AIM (American Indian Movement) being one of them as well as Leonard Crow Dog Jr. and Amy Goodman at Democracy Now. None of them has responded to any of my letters. The only reply that I have received was from IWOC Oakland [Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee]. It is my hope that they’ll be able to help. Regardless, we are still human and deserve to be treated equally and fairly. We are already paying for our crimes by the long sentences we are serving. Denying our spiritual practices is not part of that punishment. Sincerely, Laura La Paz #30388-034, SPC Dublin, 5675 8th St. Camp Parks, Dublin CA 94568