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Banishment Revived Among Indian Tribes

Wondering what to do with your rebellious teenagers? If you're a member of an Indian tribe, you can try banishment. An age old punishment, it's now coming back into vogue as a means to deal with drugs and gangs on the reservation.

The practice used to force violators out of tribal lands to fend for themselves in the wilderness. Since there's not as much wilderness left these days, banishment has sparked a debate that the Indians are just moving their problems into the general population.

The punishment is more personal for many Indians, though. According to this article, Kay Commodore, a Lummi Indian, was stripped of her tribal membership and banished from the reservation after she was convicted of drug trafficking in 1992. She served three years in prison, but said banishment is worse. She is allowed on the reservation only to visit a plot of land she holds and is forbidden to visit family members.

"They're taking away a piece of who I am," Commodore said. "I can go out to my land, but I can't stop and see anybody - that's the thing that hurts me."

The concept of banishment is nothing new. It was practiced by the Greeks and Romans. Just be glad you're not Irish.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, January 03, 2004 at 15:26 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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