Series: The wannabe Native gangster problem
"They have the hard-core names and adopted the mannerisms; they wear the de rigueur clothing and have the mobster lingo down, but the fact is Cowichan doesn’t have organized Native gangs.

“It’s not as sensational as some have painted it,” said North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Cpl. Craig Blanchard, who’s in charge of the Aboriginal police section.

“I think they’re a bunch of 14- and 15-year-old punks who have no respect for people and nothing better to do — they’re bullies who try to intimidate the other kids.”

The valley, like all communities, has youth problems but from a purely technical point of view, local kids passing themselves off as “gangstas” are the product of a laughable mishmash of crossed media messages and an almost heroic view of present day American hoodlums.

About two-thirds of the 4,000 member Tribes community is under the age of 35 and only a few of those are causing problems, said Ernie Elliott, general manager for Cowichan Tribes.

“For the most part I think they’re wannabes,” said Elliott. “They’re rats — you only see them at night and when you turn on the light, they scatter.”

Elliott, like others in the community, said the Cowichan teens that call themselves gangsters utilize images from television, movies, video games, and so-called “gangsta-rap” music."

Get the Story:
The face of Cowichan’s ‘gang’ problem (The Cowichan News Leader 10/12)
The face of Cowichan’s ‘gang’ problem, part two (The Cowichan News Leader 10/13)