Nortenos 14 Knowledge
Allies: People Nation, Bloods, Nation of Gods & Earths, Muslims
Enemies: Crips, Sureños, Folks Nation
The Norteños (Spanish: for “Northerners”), affiliated with Nuestra Familia (Our Family), are a coalition of partially Latino gangs in Northern California. A member of these gangs is a Norteño (male) or Norteña (female); based on Spanish usage. Northern Californians who are not gang members, but feel a strong cultural affiliation with others in Northern California, may also refer to themselves as Norteños/Norteñas or simply “Northerners.”
The traditional rivals of the Norteños are the Sureños (”Southerners”). The statewide dividing line between Norteños and Sureños has roughly been accepted as the rural community of Delano, California. The North and South geographical divide only holds weight in California State, outside of the State of California these lines hold no weight within Nortenos and Surenos. Norteños may refer to Northern California as Norte, Spanish for “north”. Any suggestion of a peace treaty between these two gangs, similar to that of Blood-Crip in the early 1990s, holds no weight with Norteños and Sureños in California.
In the late 1960s, Latino-American (Chicano) inmates of the California state prison system began to separate into two rival groups, Norteños (northerners) and Sureños (southerners), according to the locations of their hometowns (the north-south dividing line is near Bakersfield, California). Part of the motivation for the split was the desire of the Norteños to be independent of “La Eme,” a.k.a. the Latin Mafia, who had increasingly been referring to them as “lame farmers” due to the land from which many of them had originated.
As with many other gangs, Norteños have been involved in trafficking of drugs and contraband, and armed conflict with other gangs and with police. According to police investigators, a requirement for full membership in Nuestra Familia is committing at least one murder for the gang. Federal law enforcement agencies, long unable to infiltrate the group, began to step up their investigations in the late 1990s. In 2000 and 2001, 22 members were indicted on racketeering charges, including several who were allegedly serving as high-ranking gang leaders while confined in Pelican Bay. Thirteen of the defendants pleaded guilty; the other cases are still ongoing. Two of the defendants face the death penalty for ordering murders related to the drug trade. The largest of the federal investigations was Operation Black Widow.
In the 1980s, a faction of Norteños from the city of Fresno began to distance themselves from Nuestra Familia, allegedly for a lack of respect, and temporarily recieved protection from Sureños behind bars. Their final break from Norteño affiliation occurred when members of Nuestra Familia from San Jose were killed by Fresno Norteño drop-outs behind prison walls. Today, many gang members from Fresno and the surrounding area have labeled themselves as the “Fresno Bulldog Nation” (also Bulldogs or F14), and are primarily at war with Norteños. The term “Bulldog” was adopted from the Fresno State University mascot. They also refer to their area of California as “Centro” rather than “Norte” or “Sur”.
Most modern Norteño gangs uphold a pact of unity between themselves and follow a strict set of rules. This contrasts with Sureños in Southern California who regularly engage in inter-gang violence and rivalries. The unity shown among Norteños is one of several traits that have lead to them being labeled as one of the most organized gangs behind bars.
Norteño emblems and clothing are based on the color red. A typical Norteño outfit might include a red belt, red shoes, and red shoelaces. They may favor long hair “Indian” style, or sometimes shaved on the side with a Mongol top-knot in back. They will also favor sports team apparel that shows their affiliation through symbolism such as; the University of Nebraska (red with a capital “N”), UNLV (Us Nortenos Love Violence), K-Swiss (Kill Scraps When I See Scraps), and San Francisco 49ers (Red and Gold with a number 4). In areas where Norteños are allied with the Crips (C-14), the use of colors is less straightforward since the Bloods, the Crips’ historic rivals, also use the color red. (The Crips use the color blue.)
Norteños may refer to each other by using the term “Ene”, Spanish for the letter “N”. This follows the tradition of Sureno’s using the term “Ese”. Norteños use the number 14 in tattoos and “graffiti” because “N” is the fourteenth letter of the alphabet. It is sometimes written as “X4?, or in Roman numerals as “XIV”. A Norteño may sometimes tattoo four dots on themselves to represent “4?; this is a response to a Sureño tradition of tattooing three dots. A Norteño derogatorily refers to a Sureño as a “Scrap”, while a Sureño will likewise refer to a Norteño as a “Buster”.
Norteños also lay claim to images of the Latino-American labor movement, such as the sombrero, machete, and “Huelga bird”, symbols of the United Farm Workers. At the same time that Norteños were first organizing in prisons and calling for liberation from the Latino Mafia, the UFW and its leader Cñsar Chñvez were folk heroes and symbols of liberation to many Chicano youths, including several Northern California gang members who had met Chñvez when he was imprisoned for his union work. Chavez never actually endorsed the group, as he was a peaceful individual, but he did bring attention to the Northern Chicano presence by attracting the media to some of the most fertile farmland in the nation; California’s Central Valley.
Originally Norteños claimed traditional images of Chicano youth culture such as lowrider cars and cholo imagery; the predominant styles created by and emulated from Southern Chicanos. But recently many young Norteños have desired a style of their own, and have begun to adopt street slang that lies somewhere between African-American Hip-Hop and Chicano Calñ terminology. As a result, Calñ in its purest form is increasingly being thought of as a Sureño slang. This may be attributed to the fact that Southern California is geographically closer to Mexico, so Sureño culture is typically more closely tied to Latino tradition. Norteños are often more Americanized and sometimes not even Latino, so they may not speak Spanish fluently, or even at all. A Northern California based Latino rap group called Darkroom Familia, who have openly admitted their Norteño gang membership, have long been established Norteño role-models. Caucasian and African-American Bay Area rap acts such as the late “Woodie” (who was a Norteño himself) and the late Mac Dre are also fast becoming modern Norteño role-models while the so-called Chicano gang influence of yesterday, which is becoming synonymous with Sureños, is gradually being thrown to the wayside. This is partially a result of the “Hyphy” fad which was pioneered by African-Americans in the Bay Area. Despite this, many young Norteño’s will usually still hold reverance for the traditional styles, and it is common to see older Norteños who still dress and speak in the “old school” Chicano gangster style despite its southern origins.
Below is a list of rules found by a Deputy Sheriff inside the Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, California, giving some insight into the inner workings of the gang. The entire letter was written on a 2ñ3 card in “micro-writing” (letters being less than a few millimeters big), a trademark of many prison gangs. The letter is typed exactly as it was written so any spelling and grammar errors are those of the writer…
GREETINGS MI RAZA! THE ENCLOSED H.H.P’S (HOUSEHOLD POLACIES) HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED AND WILL BE ENFORCED THROUGHOUT “ALL OF SANTA RITA”FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF INSTILLING SELF DISCIPLINE, CONFIDANCE, AND FOREMOST SECURITY WITHIN OUR RANKS..IT IS IMPARITIVE THAT WE ALL AS A CLOSE KNIT RAZA RECOGNISE TO THE FULLEST OUR OVERALL RESPONSIBILITY’S BY UPHOLDING OUR HIGH STANDARDS IN CONDUCTING ONE SELF IN ACCORDANCE TO OUR SET GUILDELINES..AS OF BEING N.S WE WILL ACKNOWLEDGE AND RESPECT THESE POLICIES; NEVERTHELESS NOT FALTERING OUR WILL TO NOTHING LESS WITHIN THESE SET GUIDELINES..UPPON COMPLETION OF READ-ING AND GRASPING THE TRUE MEANING OF SAID POLACIES YOU WILL THEN, AND ONLY THEN BE CLEARED TO FUNCTION ON THE SAME LEVEL OF DISCIPLINE AND AWARENESS AS ALL BROTHERS RESIDEING HERE IN “SANTA RITA”..NOW, FOR SOME ODD REASON OR ANOTHER ONE CAN NOT MEET SAID REQUIREMENTS/GUIDELINES FOR HIS OWN SELFISH REASONS HE WILL REPORT IT TO HIS CHANNEL IMIDIATELY AND THE RIGHT PROCEDURES WILL BE TAKEN TO BETTER HELP FACILITATE HIS NEEDS. - - …”HENCEFORTH”…. 1. OUR N. PROGRAM WILL OPEN AT 8:00 AM AND CLOSE AT 10:00PM..DURING THIS TIME YOU WILL BE SUITED AND BOOTED. AWAKE, ~ - - ALERT AND AWARE OF YOUR IMIDIATE SURROUNDINGS..IF YOU CATCH YOUR FELLOW N. “SLIPPIN” ASLEAP TAKE THE INITITIVE TO WAKE HIM UP BEFORE HE GETS D.P …2. ONCE AGAIN ALL MOVEMENTS ARE MANDITORY! NO EXCEPTIONS.(THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS) WE WILL NOT BE CAUGHT SLIPPIN ON ANY LEVELS…3. A N. WILL ACKNOWLEDGE AND RESPECT HIS AUTHORITY IN CHARGE..ON THE SAME TOKEN NO N. WILL FEEL INFIRIOR TO ONE HOLDING RANK OR POSITION. 4.AT NO TIME WILL ANY N. ENDULGE IN ANY HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY, SEX PLAY, HORSE PLAY, SETRIPPIN, INDIVIDUALISM, OR HOMEBOY FAVORITISM. 5. NO RED ON RED ATTACKS/FIGHTING (AMONGST ONE AND OTHER) WILL BE TOLERATED. ALL FUNKING (BARRIO WARFARE) WILL BE LEFT ON THE STREETS. 6. NO DISRESPECTING ANY RAZAS OR K-9 WILL BE TOLERATED FOR IT ONLY JEPORDISES THE CAR AND THE LIVELYHOOD OF OUR PEOPLE..BESIDES WE DONT NEED THE UNWANT-ED AND UNECESSARY HEAT. 7. AT NO TIME WILL THE ABUSEMENT OF ALCOHOL OR ANY HARD DRUG BE TOLERATED. FOR THERE HAVE BE INCIDENTS IN THE PAST THAT WILL NO LONGER BE TOLERATED..WE ARE THE ELIETE AND WILL PRAMOTE PROFESIONAL ISM AND PROPPER CONDUCT AMONGST THE AIMLESS AND MISLEAD..9. HOUSEHOLD TIENDAS ARE ESTABLISHED FOR ALL NEW ARIVALS AND THOSE LESS FORTUNATE IN NEED. IT IS OUR SOLE DUTY TO PROMOTE UNITY AND CARNALISMO AMONGST OUR people. THEREFOR CONTRIBUTEING TO THE THE TIENDA IS HIGHLY ENCOURAGED AND HIGHLY APPRECIATED..10. POSTING UP AT SHOWERS FOR YOUR FELLOW N. IS ALSO HIGHLY ENCOURAGED.. 11. A N. WILL DEFEND HIS HOUSEHOLD TO THE FULLEST NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OR CONSIQENCES. THIS MEANS STANDING NEXT TO THE CAUSE OR BROTHER IN BATTLE OR STRUGGLE..12. A N. WILL BE HELD IN HIGH ~ REGARD FOR HIS PHYSICAL AND MENTAL WELLBEING..THEREFOR IT IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED AS WELL AS MANDITORY THAT YOU BUST DOWN 4 TIMES A WEEK FOR 1 HOUR A DAY..13. A N. WILL TEACH AND SCHOOL THOSE DESTINED TO THE PINTA..AT NO TIME WILL ANY PORTION OF THESE POLACIES BE MISINTERPRETED ABUSED OR USED FOR PERSONAL GAIN TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN SERIOUS REPROCUSSIONS..14. A N. WILL ESTABLISH A BRANCH IN UNION WITH ALL THESE SET PROCEDURES, MEANING UNDERSTANDING AND ACKNOWLEDGEING SAID PROCEDURES ARE MANDITORY….CON ESO ES TODO C/R
There is no evidence of Norteños ever being successful in establishing any subsets south of the Delano, California line. Although Southern California statistically has a warmer climate, a larger economy and several renowned cities; it is also gang infested and overpopulated with social services that are stretched to the limit discouraging relocation from less burdened areas in Northern California. Southern California is often considered “Dirty” to many Northerners. Ironically, many of the Northerners concerns regarding Southern California are also often the primary reason for southern Latinos migrating away from Southern California to other areas including Northern California, with the creation of Sureño allied youth gangs in these new areas being a side effect.
Another theory is that geographic expansion is not one of the Norteño’s primary concerns; yet Norteño sets can be found in Salt Lake City, UT, Spokane, WA, Albuquerque, NM, Denver, CO, Twin Cities, MN, Tampa, FL, Phoenix, AZ, Chicago, IL, Dallas, TX, McMinnville,OR, El Paso, TX, and Plant City, FL. It would seem that establishing a presence outside of California may be more important to Norteños than the attainment of any Southern California rival territory. However it is more likely that Norteños have not yet penetrated Southern California simply due to the immense numbers of Sureños (in L.A. numbering more than the Crips and Bloods combined) who have been embedded in Southern California neighborhoods for many generations.
Sureños, on the other hand, have migrated and established subsets in many cities north of Delano, California, violating the Northern/Southern California dividing line. Typically, they will choose sleepy dwellings where there is little or no Norteño gang influence to initially challenge them; though a Sureño presence in San Francisco’s Mission District, Salinas, Stockton, Richmond, Sacramento, and San Bruno have proven to be exceptions. Gang expansion into a rivals territory, especially a primary rival, usually demands that the threatened gang attack and drive back the offenders. But it would appear that due to the Norteños fewer numbers and the more open landscape of Northern California, that they are forced to concentrate their numbers and strength on defending primary areas while leaving secondary and less defendable areas open to Sureño occupation. Despite this, and due to the ratio of Sureños to Norteños throughout California, most Sureños outside of prison will never have a face to face encounter with a Norteño in their lifetime. Norteño's are known to function heavily with Bloods (even sharing turf) and represent under the People Nation alliance in areas where they coexist (14X5).
Many Nortenos 14 gang members can be found on TheHoodUp.com, which is a notorious virtual gathering-place for many other gangs as well. The reason many Nortenos and other gang members choose to communicate with each other on TheHoodUp.com over other sites is because of the ability to remain completely anonymous and avoid being tracked by the "internet-police" while being able to communicate with other gang members from around the world. TheHoodUp.com is also known to be frequented by local, state, and federal law enforcement so extra cautious members of the site have even created a unique method of communicating with each other called "starring", where they replace multiple letters in a word, often times already a code word for that particular set, with an asterisk(*) and only those who can fill in the blanks will know who or what they're talking about.