Rob Brown Talks About Gang Violence

Rob Brown

13 Jan Rob Brown Talks About Gang Violence

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Rob Brown

In this Q&A we talk with Rob Brown, a former gang leader in Minnesota, who is the subject of a the 7th Fire documentary. the film follows him as he heads to jail for the 5th time for violence and drug problems.

1. Why is it important for people to see 7th Fire?  What change do you hope happens as a result?
This documentary provides valid information in relation to recovery and change.  It also talks about the importance of knowing and understanding the concept of the original seven prophecies of the Anishinaabeg.  The title itself epitomizes where we are at in this modern life in terms of what we need to do and change in our lives as Anishinaabeg.  The documentary is not only for the purpose of entertainment, but it is a true learning and teaching moment in understanding the issues that are going on in this world.
2. What was the catalyst for you to change during your last three years in prison?
Accountability and ownership, those two strengthening elements were in fact the foundation of my transition into responsible living. Once I had taken into account of my many actions and wrong decisions and owned said actions and decisions, the door to serious inner and outer change was wide open for the taking. it had then became easy to assume my responsibilities of an adult, teacher, father, brother, son, etc. I am now for the first time optimistic about my life and the future as whole.
3. Tell us about your kids and their interests. 
My 3 yr old son Richard lives with his maternal grandmother Anita in Minneapolis. They send me pictures through Facebook, he is doing well. My daughter Persephone is doing wonderful. I had just spent time with her in Naytahwaush Village on the White Earth Reservation. She lives with my parents and likes computers. Robert is 16, Tyron 12 and Michael 11 and they all live with their respective maternal family on the Red Lake Reservation.
4. What am i doing to make change in the Native American Community?
Right now, I am validating my words through my actions and decisions. I can only account for myself and try to be a good respectable example to the ones whom look up to me. I am committed to making and executing healthy choices. I understand the obligations and responsibilities that i have as an adult and leader. I fail and fall i teach others to fail and fall, I pick myself up and walk tall, well then I teach others to pick themselves up and walk tall, it is metaphorical and literal. I will inspire through my own actions, I hope to inspire all to realize the power within themselves.
5. What is the biggest problem in Native communities and what will help to change it?
The biggest problem is our failure to realize the importance of every individual coming together as one. It isn’t the drugs, gangs or gambling. It isn’t the government or social agencies. If we are the oppressed, well then we must realize that we are also the oppressors. No outside entity or large sum of capital can remove the plagues of our community. Only the community holds the key to actual long lasting serious change. We (community members) must initiate individual change and desire and then mobilize and move together. The keyword is “together”, we have come this far as a Nation, we must address our problems as a Nation.
7. What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I am an aspiring author that is now fully engaged in writing and well on my way to finishing my first novel. I am an avid cook and well skilled barber, not in that order though. On a more serious note, I am very determined to undo the damage that I have done to my community. I care wholeheartedly about the issues that I have chosen to engage. I will walk this path of redemption all the way to my last heartbeat and breath. I will make a difference for the better and benefit of our Nation.
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