Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Tribes: Banish Drug Dealers, Sparingly, But Don't Disenroll


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.

As Ryan Dreveskracht and I explain in our recent law review article:

Banishment of the individual was only considered as a last resort, if familial and community penal efforts failed, and reserved for serious crimes . . . In order to effect banishment as a punishment, a consensus of the community was generally required . . . Yet given indigenous notions of belonging, even a banished person was typically allowed to return to the community conditionally after serving his or her time away.

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