Gabriel Galanda: Banish drug dealers but don't disenroll them

A view of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Photo from Facebook

Attorney Gabe Galanda urges the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota to reconsider its disenrollment policy for drug dealers:
This summer a number of tribes, including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, Spirit Lake Tribe of North Dakota, and Blackfeet Tribe of Montana, have resuscitated the penal tradition of banishment to eradicate member drug dealers from their lands and to deter others from selling drugs there.

Banishment, therefore, stands in stark contrast to disenrollment, a practice foisted upon tribal governments by the federal government for assimilationist reasons, whereby a tribal citizen is permanently jettisoned from the tribal community. Disenrollment almost always lacks a consensus of the community.

While the above-mentioned tribes have wisely stopped short of meting out disenrollment as a punishment of members for drug dealing crimes, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe rather curiously resolved to not only banish for life but also disenroll member dealers. Does Cheyenne River fully appreciate the implications?

I ask because the Lakota-based Last Real Indians recently explained: “We know of no Lakota word for ‘disenrollment.’ . . . We know of no Sioux leaders who have ever disenrolled our relatives from the Great Sioux Nation.” So it seems that Cheyenne River has resorted to colonial—rather than traditional Lakota—penal modes. That is certainly the Tribe’s prerogative but perhaps the Tribal Council is misguided.

Get the Story:
Gabe Galanda: Tribes: Banish Drug Dealers, Sparingly, But Don’t Disenroll (Galanda Broadman Blog 9/8)

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Spirit Lake Nation declares state of emergency to fight drugs (8/31)
Gyasi Ross: Indian Country entering a new era with drug game (08/19)
White House heroin plan includes tribes devastated by drug (08/18)
Senate committee examines costs of substance abuse on tribes (07/30)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe adopts banishment for drug dealers (07/29)
Native Sun News: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe takes on meth (07/17)

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