Culture Impact on Effective Leadership in Criminalism
It is seen that the culture of the American Indians (AI) is very much different from other cultures prevalent in the US, especially in the urbanized sectors. Among this community words of venerable elders are revered and held in great awe and respect.
Moreover, the importance attached to Indian culture and spirituality is very high, as is the ethical discipline and moral values that are a part of Indians, particularly those living in reservations.
However, it is feared that modern generations of AI, especially in urban settings, are not able to maintain or carry forward the rich traditions of AI, as a result of which, even the AI language is not being fostered and maintained in a way it should be done. As a direct consequence of 21st Century influences, it is feared that the AI language, customs, rituals, and culture are being undermined by the AI youth, which has posed a formidable threat to its spiritual sustainability in later years.
Underrepresentation of AI in the CJA
It is further seen that “While Native Americans are over-represented in the criminal justice system as defendants, victims, and prisoners, they are under-represented in law enforcement and criminal justice professions.” (Native Americans & the criminal justice system, 2003, p.1).
In the light of the recommendations from Tracy Becker, a researcher with the American Indian Policy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, there is an imperative need for a larger representation of AI in the CJA.
Thus, the following action may be taken:
1. It is necessary to create, within the Criminal Justice Administration System in Minnesota, a work culture that encourages the development of diverse AI tribes and communities. (Recommendations, 2002).
Towards achieving this end, it is necessary to categorize and screen the appointment of AI in the CJA in this setting.
Although it may be a bit difficult and tedious affair, it is necessary to involve all sectors of CJA in these efforts to bring the AI youth into the employment opportunities that are offered by US CJA.
Challenges facing assimilation of AI and Native Americans
The main challenge would be in terms of creating a workforce in CJA that could work harmoniously with AI. For this purpose, it is necessary to inculcate a sense of appreciation of AI history, background, religious and socio-cultural practices, among the workforce of the CJA. This is necessary since it is very much important to garner details of the cultural background of colleagues, peers, and subordinates with whom one works in the CJA.
Further, it is also necessary that proper guidance and training regarding the syllabus of study of relevant laws like sovereignty, treaties, Public Law 280, ICWA, and “trust” responsibility are imparted. The CJA also needs to deal with aspects of treaty-making, the General Allotment Act, boarding schools, Termination (HCR 108), and urbanization/relocation. (Recommendations, 2002).
It is seen that the main aspects that would place AI at risk or a disadvantage while taking up work in the CJA would be the following:
1. Poor and sometimes deplorable environmental and living conditions of AI, including poverty, lack of infrastructural facilities like housing, water, and proper air, lack of health and hygiene in living, high unemployment rates and low education and vocational skills, a large number of school drop-outs and criminally minded persons, all of which could pose serious risks to employment in the CJA in Minnesota.
Moreover, it is also seen that present welfare norms are somewhat tilted against AI. While earlier, the Federal Government was directly dealing with matters regarding welfare benefits and other forms of social service for AI, now this responsibility has been transferred to State Governments. (Recommendations, 2002).
This, in turn, puts more pressure on AI communities in their attempts to enforce their rightful claims against impersonal state-run administrations.
Next, it is seen that the aspect of crime, violence, and drug dependencies is a major issue among the AI community in Minnesota. Therefore, the CJA needs to address such issues, in their larger interest, by recruitment of the workforce comprising of AI.
The main threats and challenges facing AI assimilation into CJA would, interalia, be in terms of the following:
A higher degree of major/ serious crimes in AI territories and reservations need to be addressed by the CJA. (Native Americans & the criminal justice system, 2003).
There are cases of racial profiling and discrimination shown to AI and other minority communities belonging to native Americans.
There exist mismatches and apparent mismatches in the depictions of AI and other native Americans in that they are overrepresented as criminals, prisoners, and detainees, and underrepresented as criminal authorities in law enforcement and criminal justice administration systems.
Thus, there is a need to bring about a better induction of AI and native Americans into the CJA, in terms of officers of the law and enforcement personnel.
It is seen that history has been a mute witness to the seizure of lands belonging to Native Americans, even forcing them to abdicate their rights to pursue free lives. They have been subjected to many atrocities and inhuman treatment. There is an urgent need to assimilate the American Indian population into the mainstream, and possibly into CJA that could reduce crime rates and make their lives more peaceful and secure.
Involve AI communities in policy making and execution
For this purpose, it is necessary to actively involve AI in the policy-making and execution functions in Minnesota. Towards this end, it is necessary to first review crime rates among the AI community and to examine how the induction of members of the AI community could help address these issues. There is a need for an action plan that would go to ensure a larger representation of AI in policy and decision making. This could be done through forums, group discussions, and meetings between councilors and legislators, and the AI community representatives. Such forums would address the issue of common interests, like the need to reduce crimes and violence, drug dependencies, and other social evils among AI communities, and set up action plans and programs to effectively deal with such matters. Local legislators and community leaders should coordinate with members of the management staff of the CJA in Minnesota, to take up and handle the various issues that impact AI living and the development of individuals without placing their cultural heritage and rich cultural background at risk. It is often felt that assimilation into urban and cosmopolitan settings could rob AI of the rich ethics, culture, spiritual values for which they are well known, and could even instill major changes in their personalities that would distance them away from the values and ethos taught and practiced by their elders living in reservations.
It is seen that following the recommendations of the Becker Report, there is a need to create better and safer living standards for AI, and also allow them to perform their cultural and spiritual practices unfettered by modern laws and conventions. There is also the necessity to inform the majority white population about the richly woven history and culture of the AI and other native Americans, to make them truly appreciate AI culture. It thus becomes incumbent that social workers who interact with AI should be made aware of their attitudes and work ethos and they are provided with expanded knowledge and awareness of the various factors that influence not only lives in the reservations but also while interacting with other non AI cultures in urban settings.
In the contest of CJA, it is seen that a broad-based and holistic approach in the matter of assimilation and integration of AI, within the framework of selection and upgrading procedures could ensure a smooth and harmonious transition of opportunities for the younger generation of American Indians. They should be guided and motivated to imbibe changing values in modern societal living, while simultaneously, not losing sight of their cultural bonding with their tribes and elders. The fundamental traditional spiritual moorings that bond American Indian brethren in their lives on earth should not be lost sight of.
Recommendations. (2002). American Indian Policy Center.
Native Americans & the criminal justice system: Law enforcement. (2003). NCJA: National Criminal Justice Association Policy Statement.