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N.S. First Nation Wants To Join Bands Who Banish Drug Dealers

03/09/2017 02:34 EST | Updated 03/09/2017 02:40 EST

The former chief of a Nova Scotia First Nation says a Molotov cocktail thrown at his truck last week was an act of revenge taken by drug dealers — and it's time for the Mi'kmaq community to start banning such individuals.

Alex McDonald, a longtime band councillor, told APTN News that drug-related crimes are increasing in Sipekne’Katik First Nation, and that councillors and other concerned citizens who speak out about the problem are being targeted in violent and dangerous ways.


"It has gotten worse," said McDonald, citing a violent home invasion two weeks ago and other instances of people's tires being slashed.

"It’s just that people are quiet about it because they’re scared."

McDonald says the solution to the problem is to ban anyone charged with drug-related offences from the reserve.

Other First Nations have banished people

It's a step that several First Nation communities across Canada have acted on in recent years, with band members casting referendum ballots approving the banishment of problematic people.

The Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation in Saskatchewan banished six non-band members in the fall of 2016, and gave warnings to more than a dozen members because of a crystal meth problem.

Saskatchewan's Muskoday First Nation, Mistawasis First Nation and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band have also banished people to help control crime.

And just last week, the Atikamekw community of Obedjiwan in northern Quebec, expelled a suspected cocaine dealer, reports CBC News.

"It’s just that people are quiet about it because they’re scared."


The chief of Saskatchewan's Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, Bobby Cameron, has said he supports bands that want to exile criminals.

"We're talking about some communities here that have drug dealers that are selling to 10-year-old kids. What would you guys do? Honestly. You got a 10-year-old kid that's doing crystal meth. The next day, they kill themselves. Are you going to let it continue or are you going to banish these drug dealers?" Cameron asked during an address to legislature in November.

However, Val Napoleon, who holds the Law Foundation Chair of Aboriginal Justice and Governance at the University of Victoria, told Postmedia last fall there are some issues surrounding eviction and banishment that need to be considered more closely.

"The concerns are whether particular actions are going in the long run to be more harmful to families and communities, whether by just sending problem people to other indigenous communities or into a city, you’re not really helping them," she said. "There’s a whole range of questions."

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