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Native American Youth Gang Assessment Project

Award Information

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Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $437,261)

This program supports field-initiated research and evaluation studies to produce findings of practical use to communities, practitioners, administrators, and policymakers in the development of effective programs, policies, and strategies for Tribal juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. This program supports researchers to conduct participatory research within American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages with sensitivity to the cultural issues and historical trauma that Tribal communities have experienced. This initiative seeks to further understand the experiences, strengths, and needs of Tribal youth and how tribal families and communities can nurture positive youth development to reduce their risks for victimization and delinquency. This program is authorized by the Department of Justice, Appropriations Act, 2012, Public Law 112-55.

In recognition of an emerging gang problem involving Tribal youth, researchers at the University of Minnesota are collaborating with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe to assess, identify, and understand risk and protective factors for Tribal youth involvement in gang activities. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe's membership is spread across the Reservation's three districts which span over 160 non-contiguous miles throughout Aitkin, Crow Wing, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, and Pine counties. Tribal youth members also reside off reservation, particularly in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The University of Minnesota is undertaking an adaptation of OJJDP's comprehensive gang assessment model using a community-based participatory research approach to assess five domains: community demographics, characteristics of local gangs (including law enforcement data), school environments and experiences, community perceptions, and community resources. Data will be gathered utilizing focus groups, interviews, and survey techniques. The following research objectives will be addressed: (1) identify the most serious and prevalent gang-related problems; (2) determine potential factors (historical and contemporary) contributing to gang problems; (3) identify target group(s) for prevention, intervention, and suppression efforts; (4) shape community mobilization efforts and identify community member who should be involved; (5) identify various organizational or systems issues that must be addressed to have a long-term effect on the gang problem; (6) identify current efforts to address gangs and gang-involved youth; and (7) identify and develop a comprehensive community response which includes deliberate efforts to honor, engage, and develop roles for all youth in the community.

Date Created: September 6, 2012