Tribes turn to banishment as means to address problem issues

Members of the Blood Tribe participated in anti-drug rally in January. Photo from Blood Tribe Chief & Council / Facebook

Tribes in the U.S. and First Nations in Canada are banishing people from their communities as a way to deal with drug, gangs and other problems.

The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan banished two women last month after they were found with a large amount of drugs. One was a Native woman from the U.S. and the other was a Native woman from Canada.

The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Wisconsin has banished dozens of people for drugs and crime. Many appear to be non-members -- a running tally appears on the tribe's website.

The Blood Tribe in Alberta has banished a handful of people, including an alleged gang member who was convicted of serious crimes. More might face a similar punishment due to a rise in fentanyl abuse on the reserve and in surrounding communities.

“In the old days, we banished people who harmed the tribe,” Rick Tailfeathers, the tribe's director of communications, told Mint Press News. “We’re a tight community. Banishment is a hard thing to do because there are relatives who don’t want a person to go.”

Get the Story:
Tribes Harness Tradition To Tackle Modern Crimes (MintPress News 4/21)

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