Protesters Are Fed Up With Drug Use and Violence In Community

By KBJR News 1

October 9, 2012 Updated Oct 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM CDT

Cloquet, MN (Northland's Newscenter) - Authorities have recently confirmed the presence in the Northland of the Native Mob, and say its members are becoming more violent and more of a problem for police.

Now, a group is taking action against the rise in gang activity on the Fond du Lac Reservation.

Jarvis Paro is a proud parent and a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa. He's concerned about the future for his two children.

"Youth are turning to gangs and we are out here to divert that."

The Native Mob, a regional gang that specializes in drug distribution and violent intimidation, is making their presence known in the Fond du Lac community.

Cloquet Police suspect their involvement in the recent homicide of 25–year–old Cristyna Watson.

That's why a group of citizens are making it a point to say gangs are not welcome in the same neighborhoods where their children play.

"We do have community members that are not going to put up with this anymore and we are going to try to get people to come forward and if they see suspicious activity or if they know anything going on they'll step forward and let law enforcement know," said Bettina Johnsen, who organized a march call "Take Back our Rez."

All together, marching in solidarity Monday morning, to let the public know this won't stand, this group is hoping to be a counterweight in the community, diverting the Fond du Lac reservation from gang activity in its early stages.

"We want the kids to be safe, they're our future, and they're a gold mine here on Fond du Lac. It's them, it's up to them to take it over and we want to push them in the right direction," said Paro, outside of the Fond du Lac Tribal Center, shortly after the march.

This is just the first step to combat at this problem; this community has plans for their future.

The group wants to meet with police and government officials in the near future to discuss strategies to stop gang activity. Members of the northland Native American community are demanding that a felony charge should be leveled against a Duluth Police officer accused of assault.

Zach Vavricka

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