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Insightful editorial on "Native American" problems

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Liberty Belle

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Violence systemic among Native people
By Frank John King III, editor of The Native Voice.

I just read a story in the Rapid City Journal on the capture of five Native teens involved in a shooting in North Rapid. As the publisher of the Native Voice newspaper, I have been following this story with the hope that the people who committed this crime would be caught.

Violence has been one of the biggest problems with our people. Stories of people getting beaten, stabbed, vandalized and shot happen more often on our reservations than any other place I know.

Society can make analytical theories on what is psychologically or socially causing our Native people to react in a violent way, but the truth, coming from a Native who was born on a reservation, is the breakdown of the family.

More of our Native youth are going to prison, and what I have noticed is that some of the families act as if this is a monumental accomplishment, or that their kid is some kind of a martyr.

I believe that you should support your family when they are in trouble, but to infatuate your life around the violence that they cause and advocate that they are victims of the system is a slap in the face of our Native people who are trying to make a better life for themselves on (or off) the reservation.

Shooting two girls with a .270-caliber rifle isn't traditional. Just as neglecting your children isn't traditional. There is no "genocide" going on here, as people would call it. It's more like suicide, the self-destruction of the family.

In my opinion, if you commit an extreme act of violence against any tribal member you should be banished from the tribe. The sickness needs to be removed in order to heal the community.

Today our rite of passage for our young reservation men is going off to prison, and the rite of passage for many of our young reservation women is to get pregnant. These are human beings who could have been doctors or lawyers, tribal leaders or role models ... but our youth have become lost.

It has been said that maybe we have a gang problem and that these kids are reacting in violence because they are involved in gangs. But this, to me, is an excuse or just plain ignorance. If you take away the gangs the violence will still be there. This violent emotion has become embedded in the fiber of reservation life; it is systemic.

I've heard stories like this shooting a hundred times, in many forms, on many reservations. But I have also heard the excuses like, "They shot, or stabbed, or beat, or vandalized them because blah, blah, blah." But the truth is there is no excuse for violence. What our law enforcement and courts need to understand about our young people who commit acts of violence is that violence is rooted in the family core, not in gang activity.

I have watched as young Native couples struggle in poverty because they are too young to understand parenthood. But what they do understand about having a lot of kids is that they will get a welfare check for them, or as they call it on the rez, "Mama's Day." Many times, children become victims of welfare in this way. The other big payday is tax time.

Drugs have become more of a problem than alcohol and methamphetamine use is on the rise. And if you throw this new drug into the pot of reservation poverty, you can expect more violent acts.

It is the tribal councils' responsibility to find solutions for these problems, and they should be committed to the protection of their people above anything else, even if that means making decisions that may not be popular, or loyal to their cousins or relatives.

In some cases, the prison reforms the criminals, and in other cases, the individuals become adapted to its regulated lifestyle and they can't handle being out. After a while on the reservation, it's only a matter of time before the ghetto causes them to react to their surroundings or circumstances and back they go.

Our people need to take hold of their families and start disciplining their kids at a young age. They need to encourage them to be leaders, not offenders. And they need to accept the fact that encouraging their children to believe that violence is OK makes them partially responsible for their crimes.

Praying for your kids in the sweat lodge for them to get out of trouble is wrong. The sweat lodge is only used for health and happiness. If you want your kids to stay out of trouble, then it's your responsibility to make sure that this happens, not the Great Spirit's, just as it is your responsibility to pray for the victims of the crime.

Our Native community can breathe easier now that the shooters were caught. All we can do now is hope that our people learn from this rather than doing what is considered normal on the "rez" and point fingers at each other.

If anyone is killing our people, it's our own people. And when we understand this and stop blaming others and stop playing victim, only then can we stand in true liberation.
January 21, 2006

http://rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2006/01/21/news/opinion/opin01.txt
 

MsSage

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I cant say I know alot about Native Americans living in Charlotte NC
BUT I just read a report about the intercity afriacan american youth. It said the SAME thing.
Why are so many trying to find excusses and not laying the true blame at the feet of the parents? They are suppose to be the Adults and take care of the children. Raising kids is NOT easy it is a hard thankless job.
 

theHiredMansWife

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BUT I just read a report about the intercity afriacan american youth. It said the SAME thing.

Many of the problems you find in inner cites are also present on the rez. all of those poverty-related issues seem to cross racial lines.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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While in Deadwood for our Ranchers netogether I had the chance to visit with Chief Little Bear. Him and his wife rasied many children not all their own. Most went into the service and went on to become productive and successful citizens. He felt that a strong family is the key to better things. Just how do we achieve that?
 
A

Anonymous

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Big Muddy rancher said:
While in Deadwood for our Ranchers netogether I had the chance to visit with Chief Little Bear. Him and his wife rasied many children not all their own. Most went into the service and went on to become productive and successful citizens. He felt that a strong family is the key to better things. Just how do we achieve that?

Quit giving out free cell phones just because you have 1/16th blood in your ancestry!!!!!!!!!!
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Oldtimer said:
Big Muddy rancher said:
While in Deadwood for our Ranchers netogether I had the chance to visit with Chief Little Bear. Him and his wife rasied many children not all their own. Most went into the service and went on to become productive and successful citizens. He felt that a strong family is the key to better things. Just how do we achieve that?

Quit giving out free cell phones just because you have 1/16th blood in your ancestry!!!!!!!!!!

But it helps the FAMILY stay in TOUCH. :wink:
 

mp.freelance

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Big Muddy rancher said:
While in Deadwood for our Ranchers netogether I had the chance to visit with Chief Little Bear. Him and his wife rasied many children not all their own. Most went into the service and went on to become productive and successful citizens. He felt that a strong family is the key to better things. Just how do we achieve that?

A strong family is pretty much the antithesis of what "progressives" want to achieve. The modern notion of "it takes a village" basically means society has to contribute money but can expect nothing in return.
 

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