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Be Aware of the Effect of Drugs and Violence on Native American Children
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by Rosalinda Salazar,
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I am a 9th grade Native American student attending South High School. I was recently assigned to do a Ripple Effect Project of my choice. I chose drugs and violence in the Little Earth Community. Currently there is a huge problem with drugs and violence within the community.

I chose Little Earth because I have strong ties to the community. I once lived in the community. In my early childhood I lived and attended preschool there. I witnessed friends and families lose their loved ones and homes, and some have lost their lives due to the drugs and violence.

I have interviewed five individuals living or working with our community. Two of them are long time residents and elders of United Tribes of Little Earth community. Two of them are youth workers currently working in the community. And a Native American Teacher working with Native American students from the Little Earth community. I chose drugs and violence because of the ripple effect it is having on our children, our elders and the Native American community.

My goal is to bring awareness of the effects these current issues are bringing to our community, our Native American people. It’s time to stand together and strengthen our community and our Native American people. Currently with in the Little Earth Community drugs and violence are a huge problem. Children are losing their homes and families and friends due to the drugs and violent outbreaks. Children are losing hope. Children are losing their parents and the place they once called home.

Also, many of our youth are no longer grasping their hopes, dreams, or their futures because of the drug and violence around them. Our children and our elders should be proud, protected, and able to enjoy everyday living in the community. Our children and elders should be able to help one another.

An elder of the Little Earth Community stated, “the community is no longer as strong as it once was, and the effect on the community is devastating.” Another long time resident and elder stated “we can’t even enjoy the beauty of watching our children play in the park or community without viewing violence or getting approached by drug dealer or drug addicts.”

These elders love their community and they want a safer environment for the community. A youth worker within the community stated, “Personally, I’m viewing the youth believing that violence is the only option. However, some want to resolve the issue without violence but the end results leaves no choice but for the youth to defend themselves”.

Youth workers state the young are using social media to expose violent acts on others, and to expose adults walking around like zombies due to the drug use. These youth workers love working with the children and want to show our children positive role models.

A teacher for our children of the community states “The drug epidemic right now is leading to many death and violent acts within the community, and has a huge effect on our youth.” Although the drugs and violence within the community are a huge issue, things such as youth programs, sobriety programs and security on foot is helping slow down the drugs and violent outbreaks within the community.

It’s time for the Native American community to join this fight against drugs and violence. It’s time to strengthen one another. It’s time for unity as a community! Rosalinda Salazar


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