The Historical Reckoning that Revokes an Irreducible Minimum of the Youth Justice System in Ending Incarceration of Indigenous/Chicanx/Latinx/Afro-Latinx Two-spirit Youth
To end incarceration of Indigenous/Chicanx/Latinx/Afro-Latinx Two-spirit youth in the
youth justice system, one begins with placing cedar smoke to honor the ancestors of Abyanahuac —
the decolonized term for this continent — who universally welcomed and protected children as
sacred beings. Our ancestors taught us that children were brought to our mother earth to be
connected to all of creation through guidance, and that that guidance instills a sense of
self-discipline and a responsibility to community. By and large, this guidance provided by original
peoples relied on restorative practices in response to youth and adults who caused harm.
There is no evidence that the Tonga-Gabrielino communities in now Los Angeles, or anecdotally
among the original peoples across the US used cages to hold youth or adults for causing harm until
the Spanish arrived. Disagreements and/or misbehavior was dealt with by councils of elders or
matriarchs among other responses.