The Alberta Warriors are an aboriginal gang that originated in prisons during the 1900s; they are an offshoot of the Manitoba Warriors from the Edmonton area of Alberta Canada.
The Alberta Warriors have very little hierarchy or leadership; tattoos distinguish gang members with the initials A.W., gang colors, or the numbers 1-23 representing the first and twenty-third letters of the alphabet.
These aboriginal gangs fill in the gaps left by declining Italian Mafia and other criminal enterprises that sold black market goods or drugs.
The Alberta Warriors recruit other gang members from inside prison, and they prey on victims who want access to drugs or protection. Outside of prison, gang members engage in violent acts for drug money or guns.
The Alberta Warriors is considered a small gang with only about 1794 members; however, they are responsible for the majority of prison violence, and about 60 percent of their gang members join before going to prison. Most of the gang members come from foster homes and fractured families; thus, the gang provides a de facto family for these young people.
These facts have forced the country to look harder at ways to prevent disconnection of children from their native communities and to find ways to support positive mental health among indigenous youth.
A report on gangs by a Winnipeg police administrator says that the foster system and juvenile delinquency facilities are breeding grounds for future gang members. It also says that ethnic gangs such as those comprised of aboriginal people offer a sense of belonging to those who move into an area, such as a young person who moves to a city from a rural area. This migration may be why Regina, a city in Saskatchewan, and the smaller town of North Battleford, rank so high in national crime statistics.
The Alberta Warriors are affiliated with the gangFresh Off the Boat (FOB) for protection and other shared benefits. Additionally, the founding organization of the Alberta Warriors, The Manitoba Warriors is affiliated with Hell’s Angels, a well-known, long-established motorcycle gang.
Some small gangs may be related to larger ones or similar gangs for short or long-term benefits. While more significant numbers of members and affiliates signify power, the various Warriors gangs turned off so many potential members that some ethnically Native individuals formed their own group, the Redd Alert, now a rival gang.
The Hell’s Angels, the well-known, long-established motorcycle gang that originated with veterans of WWII in California, is considered a crime syndicate by U.S. justice officials and is well known for violence, drug smuggling, and other crimes. Smaller gangs may work for or be directed by larger ones, such as the well-established Angels. Called puppet clubs, they do the bidding of the larger club, such as drug running or violent attacks, to gain recognition, money, or protection of the larger club.
The Alberta Warriors often initiate new members using rape, violent attacks or shootings. Young gang members must “prove” their worth by committing violent acts.
The Alberta Warriors were suspected in a 2012 attack in a suburban Edmonton neighborhood when a woman answered her front door and was shot dead. Her death was one of three connected to gang violence in a matter of days.
According to an interview of a teen who was sent to jail for the death of a young boy,the gang encouraged him to shoot up rival members’ homes. As a result, his own home was later shot up. When the teen gang member went out to shoot up a house with some friends, a 5-year-old boy was inside with his mother and sustained a bullet wound to the head.