- ISBN: 9781552665824
- Price: $19.95 CAD
- Publication Date: Aug 2013
- Rights: World
- Pages: 176
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Indians Wear Red
Colonialism, Resistance, and Aboriginal Street Gangs
With the advent of Aboriginal street gangs such as Indian Posse, Manitoba Warriors, and Native Syndicate, Winnipeg garnered a reputation as the “gang capital of Canada.” Yet beyond the stereotypes of outsiders, little is known about these street gangs and the factors and conditions that have produced them. “Indians Wear Red” locates Aboriginal street gangs in the context of the racialized poverty that has become entrenched in the colonized space of Winnipeg’s North End. Drawing upon extensive interviews with Aboriginal street gang members as well as with Aboriginal women and elders, the authors develop an understanding from “inside” the inner city and through the voices of Aboriginal people — especially street gang members themselves.
While economic restructuring and neo-liberal state responses can account for the global proliferation of street gangs, the authors argue that colonialism is a crucial factor in the Canadian context, particularly in western Canadian urban centres. Young Aboriginal people have resisted their social and economic exclusion by acting collectively as “Indians.” But just as colonialism is destructive, so too are street gang activities, including the illegal trade in drugs. Solutions lie not in “quick fixes” or “getting tough on crime” but in decolonization: re-connecting Aboriginal people with their cultures and building communities in which they can safely live and work.
Introduction • Poverty, Street Gangs, and Colonialism • The Trauma Trails of Colonialism • The Trouble with Normal: The Growth and Culture of Aboriginal Street Gangs • “It’s Like a Business, Man”: Aboriginal Street Gangs and the Illegal Drug Business • What Can Be Done? Decolonizing People and Spaces • References • Index
About the Authors
Elizabeth Comack is Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Manitoba. She received her Ph.D in sociology from the University of Alberta, her M.A. from Queens University and B.A.(Honours) from the University of Winnipeg.
Elizabeth’s research interests fall within two main areas: the sociology of law and feminist criminology. Over the past three decades she has written and conducted research on a variety of topics: the origins of Canadian drug laws; the capital punishment debate; the legal recognition of the ‘Battered Woman Syndrome’; the abuse histories of women in prison; violence, inequality, and the law; safety and security issues in Winnipeg’s inner-city communities; and masculinity, violence, and prisoning. Her current research projects stem from her involvement in a SSHRC/CURA project, under the auspices of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba (CCPA-MB), entitled “Transforming Aboriginal and Inner-City Communities.” In one of these projects, now underway, she and Nahanni Fontaine of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) are interviewing Aboriginal peoples about their experiences with the police.
Elizabeth’s teaching regularly includes third-year courses in the department’s Criminology Program (Sociology of Law, and Women, Crime and Social Justice) as well as graduate seminars in the Sociology of Law and Feminist Criminology. She has also taught Feminism and Sociological Theory, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as the Honours Thesis Seminar.
Lawrence Deane is assistant professor at the University of Manitoba Inner City Social Work Program, a degree program for inner city residents. He has worked in community economic development for over twenty years, first in India and then in Winnipeg’s inner city. He is a founding member of the North End Housing Project and currently on its Board.
Larry Morrissette is the executive director of Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin (OPK), an organization that works with Aboriginal street gang members. He also teaches in the Inner-City Social Work Program at the University of Manitoba and the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies at the University of Winnipeg.
Jim Silver is a professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies at the University of Winnipeg. His research interests are in inner-city, poverty-related, and community development issues. His most recent book is Moving Forward, Giving Back: Transformative Aboriginal Adult Education (Fernwood 2013). Jim is a member of the Manitoba Research Alliance and the leader of the Housing and Neighbourhood Revitalization stream of its SSHRC Partnership project, “Partnering for Change: Community-Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty.”