Archive for the ‘Gangs’ Category

Reserve votes to allow eviction of gang members

A CTV News report from Alberta, Canada (see the full video report here) details a new bylaw OK’d by voters there that would allow tribal officials to remove gang members from the reserve.

The Samson Cree Nation is a violence-plagued reserve, CTV reports.

    The band agreed to take the issue to a vote after the July death of the chief’s five-year-old grandson in a drive-by shooting, as well as ongoing gang violence.

    There are believed to be about 12 gangs in the four First Nations communities in the Hobbema area.

    “It is considered necessary for the health and welfare of the Samson Cree Nation to regulate the residence of its citizens and other persons on the reserve,” states the bylaw, which also includes a provision requiring prospective new residents to apply to a residency tribunal before moving in.

SBA introduces new course for Indian entrepreneurs
In a press release this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced a new program aimed at helping entrepreneurs in Indian Country get their business dreams off the ground and into action.

Native American Small Business Primer: Strategies for Success” is a free, self-paced online business course developed for Native American business owners.

    The new online course: emphasizes business planning and market research as essential steps to take before going into business; informs Native American entrepreneurs about the legal aspects of starting a business, including the type of ownership (legal structure) and licensing; and provides key information on seed money for starting up, raising capital, and borrowing money. In addition, there is a section on how to estimate business start-up costs that can help assess the financial needs of going into business.

Craven appeal of Cobell moves forward
ICTMN’s Rob Capriccioso has the latest on an appeal to the historic Cobell land trust settlement given final approval by the courts last year.

The settlement terms have irked some, such as Kimberly Craven, Capriccioso reports. Craven filed an appeal to the settlement in September and has continued to file documents with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit as objections to her appeals have filed in. The appeals will most likely delay settlement payments to thousands.

    Of note, Craven labels the proposed distribution of the settlement as “upside-down” in that “greatest alleged injuries” would receive “the least amount of money.” The brief also states, “[c]lass members with no hope of recovery have an interest in a settlement that wildly overcompensates them at the expense of class members who do have legitimate claim.”

    Cobell lawyers have previously argued that Craven is speculating that class members suffered different types of individualized damages.

Jenna Cederberg

Every Saturday, Buffalo Post features stories from Native Sun News, published in Rapid City, S.D.

By Randall Howell
Native Sun News Correspondent

WANBLEE –– Tag used to be a school-yard game.

That kind of tag is rarely played by school children anymore.

Today, the word has taken on a new gang-like meaning, often referring to a graffiti-based, black-paint “tag” or symbolic territory marking on the exterior walls of a house or public building, such as a post office.

And, a significant number of Wanblee residents say they have had enough of that kind of tag to last several lifetimes.

“They (graffiti vandals) have tagged and retagged some buildings around here many times,” said Phyllis Swift Hawk, a long-time Wanblee resident and one of those re-organizing and rekindling the community’s five-year-old, unimplemented Neighborhood Watch program.

“The initial momentum ran out of steam somewhere along the line,” said Swift Hawk, who is helping spearhead the revival of the program, which has Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Department of Public Safety cooperation and blessing. In fact, Sgt. Larry Romano reportedly has been assigned to the community, though the Wanblee Law Enforcement substation has been shut down after the building recently was condemned as structurally unsound, according to Swift Hawk.

“We have to do something to turn this thing around,” said Swift Hawk, who noted that the fading away of the first such program left community members awash in a subsequent sea of drug use, under-age drinking and vandalism.

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Rapid City Firefighters/EMS rush the apparent victim of a shooting at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center to a waiting ambulance. The victim is listed in critical condition. (Ryan Soderlin/Rapid City Journal)

Rapid City Firefighters/EMS rush the apparent victim of a shooting at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center to a waiting ambulance. (Ryan Soderlin/Rapid City Journal)

This is so not the sort of update we had in mind from this week’s Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City, S.D.

Bad enough that there was a shooting outside the tournament – worse yet, both authorities and families fear it may have been gang-related, according to this Rapid City Journal story.

Police say the incident was probably isolated; nonetheless, they’ve given authorities at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center the right to refuse entry to anyone wearing gang colors, according to today’s follow-up story, here.

“It’s probably gang-related and if it is, it could happen again,” Anthony Four, a senior at Standing Rock High School in Fort Yates, N.D., tells the Journal’s Mary Garrigan.

Ron Kills Warrior, a school counselor from Porcupine, describes himself as “distraught” – especially because the tournament is “a classic family event that’s supposed to unite us as a people.”

(For a story about one of the LNI’s family-oriented events, the Knowledge Bowl, click here.)

Some at the tournament say they fear the shooting will only further stereotype people from reservations as gang members. The Pine Ridge Reservation has recently been the focus of national – and international – news reports on gang violence on reservations. (See previous post, here.)

Lindsey Twinn of Standing Rock High says she saw gang members at the tournament.

“You’d see them hanging around. They’re in groups of four or five, all wearing the same colors,” she said.

The shooting has brought a heavy police presence to the family event that celebrates small-town hoops. And that’s just fine with Roberta Ramsey, of Standing Rock, there to watch her granddaughter play.

“I would like to see a cop at each door,” she says.

We absolutely understand where she’s coming from. But still – ouch.

Gwen Florio

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The new dress code at the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte School District that so concerned parents – who feared they couldn’t afford to buy new, last-minute wardrobes for their children – apparently will remain into effect. (See previous story, here.) Here’s the entire text of today’s Associated Press story by Chet Brokaw:

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to prevent the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte School District from imposing a new dress code on students in three grades.

U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann took the action Thursday after learning that the Cheyenne River Sioux tribal council had withdrawn its support for the court challenge. He said he was ending the lawsuit because he never got proof the action was legally served on the district and its officials.

Two parents who attended Thursday’s hearing said they will talk with other parents about filing a new lawsuit challenging the dress code. Some parents had complained they couldn’t afford the new clothing.

School officials say the dress code already has helped reduce gang-related behavior problems in the first two weeks of the school year.

Gwen Florio<

Native leaders have gone before Congress to seek help with the gang violence and drug trafficking that have “overwhelmed” their communities.

Small tribal police departments can’t begin to cope with gangs that operate freely on vast reservations, the leaders testified before the Senate Indian Affairs committee. TO make matters worse, those police forces often lack jurisdiction to crack down, according to this AP story.

It says that 39 gangs roam the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, while the Navajo Nation, the country’s largest reservation, is beset by 225 active gangs.

“We need more officers and we need them now,” said Hermis John Mousseau, a mem-ber of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council at Pine Ridge.

“We have 5,000 gang members, but we also have 45,000 scared law-abiding people whose lives I have sworn to protect.”

Committee chairman Byron Dorgan of North Dakota is pushing a bill to help Congress strengthen law enforcement in Indian Country by improving coordination among the Justice Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal law enforcement, and encouraging more active prosecution and longer prison terms.

Gwen Florio