Friday, August 14, 2009

Los Nortenos--Nuestra Familia--La Ene Catorce (X4)

Just a bibliography with notes: Not a post. Updated December 2, 2009.
At last, a little Spanish for a bilingual gang:
1. First off, there's no n-with-a-tilde on my keyboard to denote that the second 'n' has an (ny) sound of nor-tayn-yo, or Northerner.
2. Second, you can be Norteno, as in Tex-Mex music, without being in a gang. It just means Northerner, or, as in the music "above the border" or "the USA." In California, it might mean 'Northern Californian' and no more than that.

There's not as much information on this gang on the Web. Images tagged as "Norteno" are sometimes mixed with images of the 18th St. Boys, the Surenos and Mara Salvatrucha. They all have brown pride, and they're shooting each other as fast as they can.

Graffiti, Language, the Importance of Numbers:
--In the above drawing, the huelga or eagle of Mexico, Aztec imagery, XIV, X4, Brown Pride. All these symbols date back to La Ene's association to La Raza movement and the Nuestra Familia gang. Cultural pride. Tattoos for this gang often have the Eagle and Snake of Mexico's flag.
In Spanish, the word 'huelga' also means 'strike' as in labor strike or hunger strike. The huelga bird is therefore also a sign of solidarity.
Other motifs: the sombrero, the knife.

--The X in gang alphabets stands for the number one. Therefore, a 14 or an X4 are the same thing, and it stands for Norteno.
--The four is important. Note handshakeat right: the bent elbow with the spine straight makes a Four. The other guy has Four fingers extended. knowgangs. com has this photo with a diagram, and other hand signals.

--Numbers: Gang sets often name themselves by location, using area codes in Northern California. The dividing line is around Bakersfield, CA, or Delano, CA.
707, North coastline; 530 North inland. See map for other possible codes/clues to Norteno location. The 915 Nortenos are in El Paso, which is exactly their area code.

**Nice glossary from "Nuestra Familia, Our Family" site. The Documentary from Latin Public Radio and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

"Nortenos, Hasta la muerte, Come into my barrio, you better have a cuete. . . por vida, you're in it."
 [Norteno until death, come into my neighborhood, you'd better have a gun.  . . . You're in it for life.]
Video by Krazyene916, (5 minutes) a picture series with some hand signals in it.

--Another video with a series of pictures from the El Paso 915 Nortenos (Huecos or Hueco Street). If video output is any indication, this El Paso set is active. In this video, the Surenos are called "Scrap" (or "Scrapaz") which is a nice set of puns. Scrap implirs 'trash' on its own, it's also S-crap or Sureno crap. Almost worthy of a poet. Going with that, Scrap Killers would be $K.

--News video of Oakland's murder wave (2005). Immigration from the south is pressuring Norteno gangs, too, for turf. Planning a separate post on the conflict, because I think it's a good lead for regional dynamics in gang strife.

Web sites:
--knowgangs. com has a site with some video trailers and generic information. The page on hand signals is fairly clear.
--nortenos-14 com--a long explanation that seems good except it mixes in some La Raza correspondence. (That's probably appropriate for its point in history.) No author, no footnotes, still interesting.

**"Nuestra Familia, Our Family" Web site. A documentary from 2005. This is a very good collection, including a bibliography and the glossary noted above.

**Unbelievably? TripAtlas has a great entry on the Nortenos and another one on Nuestra Familia. Much better resourced than many I've seen. One interesting item: this source says that word has come down to drop the "Hyphy" image. Had to look that up: hyphy is slang for perhaps "hyperactive" or "Hip-Hoppy." So, no Cholo looks in the north? Wouldn't mind an independent confirmation of that. In the meantime, confirmation of "hyphy" at for electronical-ized Bay Area hip hop.

--Wikipedia's article gives a pretty good history of the gang's prison origins. On the street, this seems to be a fairly beleagured gang, with Crip affiliation but plenty of enemies: La Eme, various Nazi gangs, Sur-13, and MS-13, the Fresno Bulldog Nation, and so forth.

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