NPR logo Reservations Struggle With Gang Violence


Reservations Struggle With Gang Violence

How is everybody today? We are trying to bring you this week some unexpected stories that you might have not heard of. Usually in the month of August, media outlets are struggling with the lack of news events, but we wanted to prove the rest wrong. So, today we put together a conversation about a topic you do not hear often. I will have my fellow producer Jasmine Garsd tell you more. She put this great story together. So, take it away Jaz...

This morning's program focused on the rise of gangs in Native American communities. No matter what cultural group you belong to, the stories told by our guests, Christopher Grant, Natay Carroll and Harlan McKosato ring a bell. It's about youths who find themselves in tough economic situations, sandwiched between traditional values and the get-rich-quick-and-at-any-cost values. I personally see this a lot in the young Latino community. I've worked with at risk-youth and noticed a common story - strong values coming from parents and grandparents, but a reality of economic hardship, lack of opportunity, and capitalist excess being dangled in front of your eyes daily.

The violence in Native American communities is particularly insidious, because these are communities that have been forced into the darkest corners of popular consciousness. These communities are often not featured in mainstream conversations about poverty and violence, except as footnote or an afterthought.

When you think gang violence and poverty, I bet you usually think about minorities and inner cities. For better or worse, rap, hip hop and more recently reggaeton have made the urban conditions of minorities known to everyone. Some might even say commoditized, packaged and sold at your local shopping mall - you can enjoy the thrill street life from the comfort of your suburban couch!

But rural poverty does not have that PR. When you think welfare, unemployment, and gangs, I bet rural doesn't come to mind. And I'll bet, this is the first time many of you know about the problem of gangs on Native American reservations.

Thank you, Jasmine.

The conversation is truly interesting, so check it out and tell us what you think.

Blog to you soon.