Indigenous communities and peoples are starting to enact more traditional laws and justice systems. Traditionally they could collectively banish people for having transgressed social nomes and being a danger to others. As an example in Mohawk communities, you would be marked, which would indicate to other tribes you were not welcome.
In late November the O’Chiese and Sunchild First Nations enacted bylaws to evict drug dealers from their communities. On November 20, 2019, the chiefs from the neighbouring First Nations signed Residency and Trespass Bylaws to give them the power to drive out illegal drug use and clean up their communities.
O’Chiese, is 52 km northwest of Rocky Mountain House in Alberta with 1,500 members and Sunchild is nearby with 1,440 members.
In a joint news release, the First Nations said both O’Chiese and Sunchild received “overwhelming support for the bylaws from their communities after several public consultations.”
Penalties and appeals will be handled by a sanctioned body made up of seven community members from various sectors on the First Nations.
In 2018, Siksika First Nation in southern Alberta banished three non-Nation members who council said were known to be involved in possessing and trafficking drugs. The additional issue is where do the banished go? While there is little data, it could be expected that they head to major cities like, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg to cause chaos and further disruption to social systems within these cities. While it may seem to be an excellent solution for the community for others it causes major problems.
It is not known how many communities have banishment bylaws in Canada or how many people are banished without official bylaws every year.
I think they’re going to challenge us. They’re going to threaten us. They’re going to try and find ways to hurt me, or people, against them, It’s not going to happen overnight. We’re going to face a few obstacles on the way. But I think in one year, I think everyone will feel safe. That’s what I’m hopingO’Chiese Chief Douglas Beaverbones