BRAID for Juveniles

Although it is difficult to quantify, the need for educational material in juvenile detention facilities is vast, according to the Indian Law & Order Commission’s report A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer, which was presented to Congress in November 2013. Due to the complexities of tribal, federal, and state jurisdiction, some American Indian juveniles are housed in federal facilities intended for adults for which there are few age- and culture-appropriate reading materials (159). The Roadmap details not only the unavailability of reliable statistics regarding the incarceration of Native youth, but also the lack of educational services available to tribal juveniles detained in BIA-operated facilities (164–167). It cites the Ute Tribe’s director of social services, who says: “I asked about education in our juvenile facility there [a regional Federal facility in Towaoc, Colorado]. . . . There is no program. We do not have an educational program. . . . So we house them [the juveniles], they just sit there” (167).

BRAID staff cannot communicate directly with juveniles in detention, as some are as young as eight years old! We have made overtures to librarians and administrators in charge of such institutions, who have expressed the needs of their specific populations:

“The age range of our students is 12–18 years of age…We have San Carlos Apache, to Navajo, to Pascua Yaqui, to T’ohono O’odham…Thank you so much for this information and I’m sure the kids will find it interesting as well.”
—Sierra Vista, AZ


“The age range is 8–18. We serve the Hualapai Reservation…The BIA does not provide Educational funding to us. We manage to run an educational program though at times we have to be inspirational to fund it. Every little bit helps.”


“I’m going to start teaching Hualapai language lessons here at our school, and I’m trying to find two books. The first one is Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim: Hualapai Reference Grammar and the other one is Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim: A Dictionary of the Hualapai Language.
—Hualapai Juvenile Detention, Peach Springs, AZ


“Our students range in age from 12–17 years. Native American students could be from the Hualapai, Fort Mohave or Chemehuevi tribes in Mohave County. We can use hardcover books in the classroom but for free time reading in the wings paperbacks are necessary. We could use printed articles on topic you think would be of particular interest to our students with no staples or stitching.”
—Gloria Dusek Compass School, Kingman, AZ