Patty Dawson, was attacked in her car on June 14, by what she calls “skinheads.” Here she is pictured with her baby.

Native Mother Attacked and Beaten, Skinheads Suspected

Valerie Taliman

CLOVIS, Calif. – On June 14th, also known as Flag Day, Patty Dawson dropped her Apache uncle off at the Fresno train station after a family visit, and headed for home around 2:30 p.m.

What happened next she will never forget.

Dawson, who is Navajo and San Carlos Apache, said she was at a stop sign in the small town of Clovis when a car behind her bumped into her lightly. She glanced in the rearview mirror and saw three people in the car, and decided to keep going.

As she continued down the two-lane highway, the car behind her sped up alongside her and tried to force her off the road. Dawson said she tried to evade them, but the car then tried passing her on the right dirt shoulder of the road, forcing her into the oncoming traffic lane.

Fearful of their intentions, Dawson headed for the next business she saw, an Arco station with people in the parking lot where she thought she’d be safe.

Before she could get out of her car, she was attacked by one of three people, who she described as “skinheads,” that had followed her into the parking lot.

Witnesses told police they saw a white woman and two men with swastika tattoos and shaved heads kick and beat Dawson, leaving her unconscious and bleeding in the parking lot.

Dawson, a mother of a young family, said all she remembers is a woman covered in tattoos spitting on her, then hitting her so hard she blacked out. Two men – one with a swastika tattoo on his face and the other with a shaved head – joined in the beating, but it was mainly the woman attacking her, according to witness statements to the local police.

Cindy Dawson, the victim’s sister, said Patty woke up in a Fresno emergency room, in shock and pain, and unable to remember her name.

“She had a broken nose and a concussion when she was released,” said Cindy. “I don’t think they should have let her go without a thorough exam. I think she also had a broken rib, and now she may have to have surgery for her injuries.”

Cindy Dawson also said her sister is having a hard time coping with the trauma of an inexplicable and random attack. “She has no idea why anyone would do this to her, and she’s trying to recover from her injuries.”

Because of a lack of federal funding to Indian Health Service facilities, Dawson was told that if her injuries required rehabilitation or surgery, she would have to travel to the nearest IHS facility in Phoenix, Arizona for medical care.

“My sister is a kind and quiet person who did nothing to deserve this,” said Cindy. The family has no insurance, so treatment for trauma or counseling is out of reach, and she worries how this will affect them in the long term.

“Her head injuries are still causing vomiting and other problems, and there’s damage to her upper cheek. The doctor told my sister she’s not to be working and she was the sole source of income for her family. We’re still waiting to hear from victim’s services to see if we can get some assistance.”

She speculated that ongoing racial tensions and “deep-rooted hatred for Indian people” in the region was part of the motive for the attack on her sister.

The family has been concerned that they were not getting a response from local police, despite repeated calls by family and community members.

“My dad and I started contacting people because we couldn’t believe something like this could happen without being noticed. People need to be aware of this, and the fact that no one was punished,” said Cindy.

ICTMN left messages at the Clovis Sheriff’s Department for the detective assigned to the case, but calls were not returned.  Another staff member said he was on vacation.

“Detective Tuscano from the Sheriff’s Department assured my sister that they will find the people who did this to her,” said Cindy. “I’m told they may know who the assailants are because witnesses reported the license plate number.”

In the meantime, the family is trying to get on with life and seeking treatment for Patty’s physical and emotional trauma.

A fund has been set up to help the Dawson family. Those who wish to help may contribute at any Wells Fargo Bank, to the Patty Dawson One Love Fund.

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rezrainbow's picture
Submitted by rezrainbow on
Sick, why would anyone do such a horrible thing to another living being.

beadingqueen's picture
Submitted by beadingqueen on
Those people are monsters!! They attack a defenseless woman because she was not born "white"?!! Brings to mind what happened to the Bonta family... An again people don't intervene to help someone that is obviously in need! Just walk on or drive by, like nothings wrong. If I saw anybody getting viciously attacked, I wouldn't hesitant to help intervene!! Maybe someone should set up an FB support page for Patty and her family? No matter what, I will keep Patty and her family in my prayers.

whitebear's picture
Submitted by whitebear on
This story make me so sad...hope that Patty will come over it and have a good life.Those 3 thinks that attact her i hope will spend rest of there life in jail.I do not uanderstand what make people do that?If i so this,im not sure those 3 people where living today. Tham those chicken people. So again i hope Patty and her family will come over it and have a good life.

softbreeze's picture
Submitted by softbreeze on
Unbelievable. I can't believe this happened to such a kind, innocent, woman. I am going to contribute to the fund to help her, and I am going to try to raise awareness about this with others that I know. I am so angry that ignorant supremacists have been hurting our people. Who do they think they are? If they don't like us so much, why don't they just get on a boat and go back to Europe? And why are the hospitals not helping the victims? And why are the perpetrators getting away with it? I don't understand.

editors's picture
Submitted by editors on
The following infornation was supplied by Maurie Redfeather-Looking, Customer Service Section, CalVCP: Upon reading of the violent attack on Patty Dawson in Fresno, California, I wanted to provide the following assistance to her and any other Native residing in California who has suffered a violent act. The State of California Victim Compensation and Government Claim Board (CalVCP) can help pay up to $63,000 of bills and expenses that result from certain violent crimes for victims who have been injured or threatened with injury. Because these bills are paid at the same rate that insurance companies receive this money can be stretched much further and the bills are considered paid in full upon the cashing of the check by the health care provider. Similar programs are available in all of the states. This is how California does it. There are no financial requirements for participation just a report to a law enforcement agency about the crime is needed to submit an application. CalVCP can help victims of Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Assault, Sexual Assault, Elder Abuse, Homicide, Robber, Drunk Driving, Vehicular Manslaughter, and Hate Crimes, amongst other crimes. Minors who suffer emotional injuries as a result of witnessing a violent crime may be eligible for mental health counseling through CalVCP. The program can help victims of crimes that occur in California as well as California residents who become victims while visiting other states or outside of the country. Additionally, people who suffer a monetary loss because of death or injury to a crime victim may also be eligible for compensation. These victims can include: Spouses/Domestic Partners, Children, Parents, Legal Guardians, Brothers, Sisters, Grandparents, and Grandchildren. CalVCP may help pay for expenses related to a crime such as: Medical/Dental Treatment, Mental health services, Income Loss, Funeral Burial expenses ($5,000), Loss of support for dependents when a victim is killed or disabled because of a crime, home or vehicle modifications, Home Security, Relocation, and Crime Scene Clean-up. For more information about this program please feel free to contact our Customer Service line at 1-800-777-9229. Maurie Redfeather-Looking Customer Service Section, CalVCP 800.777.9229 916.491.6417 Fax

flyingbuffalo's picture
Submitted by flyingbuffalo on
Sounds like similiar to the attack on the other native person who was with his family. In that cse the police supported the monsters who did the assault. If the police don't assist they are part of the problem. Inaction on the police part sends the message that it is ok to attack minority people. People by nature won't intervene to help. There are self defense measures to take to safeguard yourself not involving a gun.

amber's picture
Submitted by amber on
Thanks for all the info Maurie. Patty, I am praying for you and your daughter. I hope that your recovery is a speedy one. I want you to know that people care about you and fully support you. I am in Northern California as well and if you need anything please email me:

debrinconcita's picture
Submitted by debrinconcita on
THIS BEATING OF NATIVE WOMAN WAS UNCALLED FOR, this was & still is our HOMELAND for all Native & INDIGENOUS people. I don't know who on EARTH can say the same thing. WE Were born here, Our ANCESTOR"s were all born from this CONTINENT. Nobody has any Right to be on this continent but AMERICAN INDIAN PEOPLE. I hope & Pray these people will pay for their stupidity in not knowing where they are from??? Nobody of Native decent should be told to go home, we are the one's who are from here forever!

wahsontiio's picture
Submitted by wahsontiio on
Is there an American Indian lawyer in the house? Is there any well-to-do Native Americans in the house? We can't say that we are sister nations if no one with the resources is willing to assist. has this type of outright attempted murder become so acceptable that its "just another news story"? When we make a stand for our right to equal treatment in our homeland we have always been treated like a worthless thing with no right to even exist. I say start deporting the violent individuals back to the country of their ancestor's origin.

oneluiseno's picture
Submitted by oneluiseno on
I am a friend of Patty's. I love her laugh. I could be at a pow wow and i would hear her laugh. I wouldnt be able to see her but by hearing her great laugh i knew she was there. Just by hearing her laugh would put a smile on my face. My heart is saddened by the thought of her being beaten by people who do not know what a beautiful person Patty is. To think that another human thinks they have the right to put hands on someone just because of their own ignorance. People that do not know where they come from think they have the right to own something that is not theirs to own. We have walked on Mother Earth for many generations and have survived through what they have put our people through to eliminate us. We are Indian, we are strong, we are proud. The Creator gave our people strength and gentleness to be able to survive the tragedies that cross our paths. Patty please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I pray for those who have not become spiritualy connected to Mother Earth. Mitakuye oyasin

amber's picture
Submitted by amber on
Your post was very touching. She has so many people praying for her.

tylerstwit's picture
Submitted by tylerstwit on
This world has become one of violence & hatred. The sooner we live as God intended us to, the sooner we can relax and not be afraid to walk the streets. My prayers go out to Patty and her family!

evildemon's picture
Submitted by evildemon on
Well i dont mean to be negative but you all know nothing will happen with this case . The worst part about it is if the victims fight back then they will be at fault . Thats just the way the world works we cant fight all we can do is live an cower in fear ,Cause once we do fight back the government will say they have an indian uprising an than we will be exterminated like the buffalo ...

donna's picture
Submitted by donna on
Please tell Patty that it is imperative that she get a complete neurological evaluation if she hasn't done so. As a retired RN, I know that prolonged vomiting following head trauma requires immediate care. My prayers are with Patty and her family.

kenneth's picture
Submitted by kenneth on
Prayers and support from the Siletz Rez

bodhi1980's picture
Submitted by bodhi1980 on
Has anyone been charged yet? Civil actions of assault and severe emotional distress could easily be taken up against those who committed this act.

mfstephani's picture
Submitted by mfstephani on
Please continue to update this story. I have a new group on FB, dedicated to tracking hate crimes. My goal is to keep the pressure on and keep investigations on going and current. I also want to keep track of what law inforcement is or is not doing. We must keep after them, be relentless. The group is open to all its called Hate No More, please join and share information, together we can make a difference. Lets get these stories out of the darkness and into the light. Strength in numbers. in Spirit.