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NCJ Number: 168139 Find in a Library
Title: More Indian Kids Joining Gangs (From Native Americans, Crime, and Justice, P 56-57, 1996, Marianne O Nielsen and Robert A Silverman, eds. -- See NCJ-168132)
Corporate Author: Associated Press
United States of America
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 2
Sponsoring Agency: Associated Press
New York, NY 10020
Westview Press, Inc
Boulder, CO 80301
Sale Source: Westview Press, Inc
Marketing Director
5500 Central Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: American Indian youth in the past have had little involvement with street gangs, but social workers and police say that is changing.
Abstract: Max Benson, a youth guidance counselor at the Lloyd Rader Center in Sand Springs, Okla., has said that when he first began working at the juvenile detention facility, "Maybe three out of all the number of young people we had were Indian. Now we have Indian kids in every unit." Law enforcement officers also are alarmed by the apparent increase in gang activity among Indian youth. A member of the Tulsa Police Department's Gang Task Force has stated, "Three years ago we didn't know of a Native American gang. We had Native Americans in gangs, but now we have more than one gang that is strictly Native American." This same officer said Indian gangs are similar to gangs in Los Angeles and other large metropolitan areas, where gang affiliation falls along racial lines. Indian gang members often commit crimes in cities and flee to tribal land to hide, a trend Indian leaders would like to see stopped. The Pawnee tribe created a gang intervention unit last spring that is the first in the Nation geared to the problem of Indian gangs. Through a tribal resolution, the Tribes of Oklahoma Gang Task Force was created with the purpose of educating tribes and other groups about the growing problem. An Indian law enforcement officer reports that 15 Indian gangs have been identified in Oklahoma. He states that gang members from Tulsa and Oklahoma City come to Indian land and recruit and sell drugs. Other gang-related activities include drive-by shootings, burglary, and development of their own language and wardrobe. Officials advise that American Indian children are no different from other children who have turned to gangs for emotional support they are not receiving elsewhere. Federal officials believe the Indian gang problem is not limited to tribes in Oklahoma, which has the largest Indian population in the Nation, but is a problem among Indian tribes throughout the Nation.
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): American Indians; Juvenile gang behavior patterns; Reservation crimes
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