Essay On Native American Gangs

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When a person thinks of a “gang,” Native Americans are often not the first group of people that come to mind. Throughout the past 20 years however, Native American gangs have begun to draw attention to themselves. Though they often contrast their urban counterparts, Native gangs are a difficult force to be addressed by tribal leaders and authorities, as well as parents, and educators. Understanding such gangs is a difficult concept, using Native history and culture; this essay will provide insight into the emergence of Native gangs, as well as some prevention strategies taken on by the tribal communities. In contrast with urban gangs, studies of Native Americans living on rural areas on reservations in 1998 indicate that only 15% of the youth …show more content…

Topics such as organizational factors, symbolic characteristics, and criminal behavior set these two gangs apart from one another. Organizational factors such as having a leader present and territory to protect are a relatively new concept to Native gangs (Major 2004). Because reservations are fairly spread out and there is little competition among the gangs, there isn’t a whole lot of fighting amongst one another for turf. Also, many members of the tribal gangs feel no need to hide their leaders from the authorities and will talk openly about them. An insight as to why they would discuss their involvement is because they simply haven’t been exposed to the criminal justice system to be silent when it comes to their involvement (Hailer 1999). Symbolic characteristics of these gangs actually are quite similar to the urban gangs. In fact, terms such as Crips, Bloods, and the Latin Kings are used as names for the Native gangs due in part by their perception of what they expect gang life to be (Theriot 2007). Criminal behavior is perhaps the biggest difference amongst the two lifestyles of these gangs. Whereas Urban gangs are driven by the economic aspect of gang life involving drugs and weapon trafficking, Native gangs are often seen acting out property crimes and misdemeanor offenses such as graffiti and theft, as well as alcohol offenses. Native gangs as a whole seem to be more on the pursuit …show more content…

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