Mark Anthony Rolo: Gangs in Indian Country
"Indian Country is under a new threat: this time from gangs.

While American Indian communities struggle to undo decades of devastating oppression, a surge of gang activity among their youth is posing a grave challenge.

In recent years, urban gang recruiters have established a firm presence on Indian reservations. Vandalism, violence and shootings are sweeping across the tribal map at an alarming rate. A new Indian generation is rejecting traditional tribal values and turning to a culture of drugs and disrespect.

Despite efforts to break inter-generational cycles of dire dysfunction, too many Indian teens are growing up on reservation communities where poverty, alcoholism and domestic abuse remain rampant. The tradeoff may be prison or death, but for this generation of Indian youth, gangs offer support, loyalty and a strong sense of belonging.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that the crime rate on tribal reservations is two to three times that of the national average. Much of that crime is directly related to gang activity. Throughout Indian Country, law enforcement officials are forced to admit they are engaged in a losing battle simply because tribes cannot afford to hire enough cops."

Get the Story:
Mark Anthony Rolo: Gangs are the latest threat to Indian country (McClatchy Newspaper 8/6)

Committee Hearing:
OVERSIGHT HEARING to examine the increase of gang activity in Indian country (July 30, 2009)

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