Natives Struggle to Overcome Okla. Race Disparity | Al Jazeera America: Today, 60 miles east in Custer County — named for the officer — the battles fought in the local Native American community are still fierce and deadly. Poverty, mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse are huge problems in Oklahoma, home to 39 federally recognized tribes.
“The alcoholism and drug addiction rates are staggering in the Native American population. It’s staggering,” said Rosemary Stephens, the editor and chief of The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribune, based at tribal headquarters in tiny Concho, west of Oklahoma City.
Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal lands are scattered throughout Custer County and elsewhere in western Oklahoma.
The killing of two Native Americans by law enforcement has fed racial tension in the majority-white law enforcement forces and minority Native population, she said.
“Custer County,” said Stephens, “is our Ferguson.”
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