To fight back against the warring gangs and violent offenders, the tribe has revived an ancient form of punishment: banishment. Legally called “exclusion,” it forbids the offender from entering the reservation’s trust land for at least five years.
When it was used centuries ago, banishment was a thinly veiled death sentence. Without the rest of the tribe’s support, an exiled member rarely survived for long in the wilderness.
But modern banishment means something entirely different.
“Where are they banishing them to?” asks Clyde Bellecourt, an Ojibwe civil rights leader. “They just come down to Minneapolis.”