Native American Task Force To Restore Trust, After 2 Homeless Navajo Men Beaten To Death

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By Red Power Media, Staff

It’s been one year since a group of teens beat two homeless Navajo men to death in Albuquerque. A task force has released its recommendations.

When the teens were arrested and charged with the beating deaths, the crime shocked New Mexico.

The incident has prompted city officials to establish a task force to improve life for Native Americans in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, met with Native American leaders and organized the task force, which focused on homelessness within the Native American population. The task force released its recommendations, but it said trust must be restored.

“A lot of them have a trust for the system. A lot of them don’t have trust in anything, so sometimes they get lost on the streets, and they don’t want to ask for help, because they just don’t trust the system,” said Sherrick Roanhorse, chairman of the task force.

Agencies that interact with the homeless will be learning more about Native culture.

Friday morning, Mayor Berry said the task force has come up with 14 recommendations for the city to follow up on. They include more funding for the “first nation’s community health source”. Officials say $300,000 will help provide more medical care, food and job services.

There will also be an increased focus on mental health issues, emergency housing and “cultural competency training” for all city employees who routinely work with the native population.

All this stems from then deadly beating a year ago on west Central where police say three teens killed two homeless Navajo men for the fun of it using rocks, poles and bricks.

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Task force members say they have a lot of work to do.

Officials say with more outreach and education the hope is to spread cultural awareness and prevent further Native American homelessness.

The city says it is also considering building a separate shelter for homeless Native Americans.

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