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Emmonak Juveniles and the Elders' Group

NCJ Number
Alaska Justice Forum Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Dated: Summer 2001 Pages: 1,3,5-7,8
Antonia Moras
Date Published
6 pages
This article describes the structure, functions, and relationship with juveniles of the Emmonak Elders' Group in Emmonak Alaska.
The Emmonak Elders' Group was officially established in 1997 in response to increasing social problems in the village. The goal of the group has been to pass down traditional knowledge and wisdom to a new generation. In addition, they have formally addressed such community problems as domestic violence by educating families and providing culturally based guidelines. Becoming involved with troubled youth was a logical next step. The group sought to reduce juvenile crime and recidivism and to increase the skills, knowledge, and control of local Native entities in administering solutions to village issues. The group has handled certain non-felony juvenile cases in the village. The project permits youth to remain in the community while their offenses are adjudicated through the body of elders, thus avoiding formal justice system processing which usually entails removal from the village. Youths are held accountable within the context of the local community and its traditions. Through its use of the traditional strengths of the elders to formally address the delinquent behavior of youth, the project has helped to demonstrate the efficacy of a locally-based approach to handling juvenile misbehavior. Table