Red Lake Tribal Council Outlines Protocols For Banishment
Updated: August 8th at 8:29 PM
The Red Lake Tribal Council has outlined the protocols of banishment for tribal members facing drug offenses. It also unanimously passed a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) resolution to assist opioid treatment programs (OTPs), which combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders.
According to a press release, banishment has been part of tribal ordinance since December 2003. However, the council or other entities did not establish a protocol for doing so.
During a monthly meeting held on Tuesday, the council determined which crimes could be considered under the ordinance, how long it would last and how individuals could reclaim membership.
In the approved resolution, the council said this would affect people involved in “drug related behaviors or charges may include but not limited to: buying, selling, manufacturing, administrating, transporting, and distributing [substances].”
A member of law enforcement or prosecuting party would issue a petition for banishment. The petition would include the party or parties name(s), reasoning for the decision and length of time.
There would also be a hearing where evidence would be presented and a burden of proof would have to be established.
If decided upon, banishment would last one to five years at maximum, unless there is no progress to address underlying issues that lead to banishment.
The person or parties involved could petition for a “lifting or cancellation” before the end of the order. Grounds for the petition would include: chemical dependency treatment, completion of sentence, amends to the community, employment, sobriety, commitment to traditional or religious values.
If the person is banished, they would not be disenrolled, but would lose some of the benefits from the tribe. This would include tribal payments and cancellation of any housing program.
They would still be able to claim themselves as a Native American and could seek help at agencies such as Indian Health Services, but wouldn’t be able to do so on tribal land. If banished, the individuals would not be allowed on the reservation or any of its entities.
If the tribe believes that there has been a violation of the order, the court may sentence accordingly under Chapter 213. Any subsequent disobedience to the contempt order shall result in criminal contempt which shall receive a six month sentence. The resolution did not say what the sentencing guidelines were under Chapter 213.
If necessary, a banished member may request a temporary lifting of the banishment order for funerals of immediate family members only. The temporary order must be signed by the Chairman with restrictions on travel within the reservation.
The council also agreed to execute a substance abuse treatment program license for the Red Lake Medication Assisted Recovery Services Program, and further authorizes application for any further licenses that will bring the program to fruition.
The document also said that the tribal council is also developing additional tools to fortify the spectrum of services that are available to treat tribal members suffering from addiction.
Most recently, the tribe has held multiple events to take a stand against drug and alcohol abuse, while raising awareness of the epidemic on the reservation. In July, hundreds marched during the “Natives Against Heroin” event. Last week, a group of runners took off for a four day run for health and sobriety.