Native American youth and justice

Dr.Sc. Laurence A. French, Dr.Sc. Haris Halilović, Dr.Sc. Goran Kovačević


Youth and delinquency issues have long been problematic among Native Americans groups both on- and off-reservation. This phenomenon is further complicated by the cultural diversity among American Indians and Alaska Natives scattered across the United States. In address these issues, the paper begins with a historical overview of Native American youth.

This history presents the long tradition of federal policies that, how well intended, have resulted in discriminatory practices with the most damages attacks being those directed toward the destruction of viable cultural attributes – the same attributes that make Native Americans unique within United States society.

Following the historical material, the authors contrast the pervasive Native American aboriginal ethos of harmony with that of Protestant Ethic that dominates the ethos of the larger United States society. In addition to providing general information on Native American crime and delinquency, the paper also provides a case study of Native American justice within the Navajo Nation, the largest tribe, in both size and population, in the United States. The paper concludes with a discussion of issues specific to Native American youth and efforts to address these problems.


racial groups; Native American; youth; delinquency; POSIT; Justice;


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DOI: 10.21113/iir.v2i2.140

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