March 25, 2010

Guardian Angels on the rez

Guardian Angels starting first reservation chapter

By Matt VolzFed up with growing gang violence, Montana tribal leaders this weekend will start the first-ever American Indian reservation chapter of the Guardian Angels.

The new chapter of the citizens' crime-watch group—whose members are known by their red berets in New York, Chicago and other U.S. cities—will begin training about 50 recruits on the rural Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The sprawling reservation on the plains of eastern Montana is home to 6,000 of the approximately 10,000 enrolled members of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes.

Chauncy Whitwright III, vice chairman of the Wolf Point Community Organization, said the children of the 3,200-square-mile reservation are vulnerable to gangs that have crept in from the outside.

Other Montana tribes, including the Blackfeet, Rocky Boy, Crow and Northern Cheyenne, report the same problem, Whitwright said, and he hopes the new Guardian Angels chapter will eventually expand its programs and patrols and give teens there an alternative.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Gangs, Suicide, and Stereotypes and Gang Culture in Indian Country.

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