Join a gang to be part of a family. Join a gang to seek protection. Join a gang to be part of a group. What a load of crap! Gangs are nothing more than an attempt to have power and control. That's it nothing more. It's not because Mom didn't love me or Daddy wasn't there. It's not for a brotherhood or sisterhood. It is simply a place to get some power. I get sick when I hear people trying to talk about how the gangs show respect by not breaking into a car that has an Eagle feather hanging from the mirror. Tell that to the husband and kids of the woman shot on Saturday for being at a wedding social. Tell them how gangs are a symptom of a wider social problem. Tell them that there is function that gangs serve.
In jail some people just thrive. They get to be somebody in jail. Whatever that is. But on the outside they are just like everyone else. Either someone just making it or someone invisible. What has selling poison to your own people or selling someone's daughter have to do with being a part of Tradition? I know of this lady who was working at one of the local Indian agencies and was not a drug user. Her husband was a drug user. The drug dealing gang members went after the woman for the man's debt. I don't know who is worse, the husband or the gang member. You know what is bad? Some people are proud of their kids being in a gang. That is just awful. How sad is that? What's even worse is that our leaders meet with these guys. Lot of the gang members want to be respected but they have no idea what respect is. I think people should more than despise gangs, people should loathe them and threat as the pariah that they are.
I worked in a job where we did advocacy work. Indian gang members were in jail and saying all sorts of things (actually those big gangsters were whinning alot), like they were alone, being discriminated against and so on. I went with an Elder to have a Pipe ceremony with them in the Remand Centre. They asked me to go to watch them in court. I did. You know what that got me? Later on a few years later, they took me for a ride and wanted money for one of their lackeys. He was a guy from my Reserve and we had a disagreement. Long story but I kicked him out of a business venture I was starting. He didn't like it and used his connection to the gangs to exact his revenge. One of the older gang members from the Reserve always threatened to kill me every time I would see him somewhere.
The gangs make it hard for the everyday Indian. My son was arrested as a teenager. He was labeled a gang member by the police because he is an Indian. The police do that because there are stricter bail conditions if you are a gang member. My son had never been in trouble in his life but he spent 16 days in jail and was on a strict curfew for 2 years before his court case found him innocent. The police would come to the house at all hours and harass us. The everyday person sees an Indian and assumes that he is a gang member. It is difficult for a young Indian not to be labeled because of the gang life.
I look at the gang members I had dealings with 10-15 years ago and they are still in the same sad life style. It is a loser existence but yet it draws people in? Standing around outside some run down bar, riding stolen bicycles, living at a woman's Manitoba Housing complex.You know what is appealing about the gangster life? It's the appeal of laziness. Look at what they do. Sleep endless hours of the day. Go out at night, hanging around, sitting in bars, or going to different places and picking up money at people's places. Nothing to do but drive around (in many cases bicycle around or bus it) see people, visit and that's it. Stand our sit around the malls food courts trying to sell shit to people. Just lazy lives that is gangster shit.
My cousin's were partners of gang members. When the guys did time, so did the girls. They had to be by the phone waiting for the call from their man in jail. They were stuck. If they were not home and the guy phoned, well it was not a good thing. These tough gang members all "shaking it rough" when their woman is on the outside. So what do the gang members do? They make the women do time. The girls do time in their own home, trapped to the phone. That is it, power and control. Nothing more.
Watch around the remand centre in the city, girls will come there and bring their babies and wave at the windows way up at the concrete building. Waving at some window where their dad may or may not be looking. What a life for a child. That's gang life for you. Old guys still trying to fight, mean while some of them need diapers (Depends) because they are close to that "I shit myself" age.