Mille Lacs Ojibwe fighting violent offenders with banishment

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Julian Koslowski and two other members of the search party reached the waste water treatment plant as storm clouds formed over the Mille Lacs Indian reservation in Minnesota.

Near the facility, the search party noticed two pathways of flattened grass. One was thin and the other was thick about the size a body would be if it were dragged through the grass. They also noticed tire tracks as the rain poured down from the black sky.

The body of 19-year-old William Nickaboine was so badly maimed, burned, and beaten it was hardly recognizable as a corpse. The word of his death spread quickly across the 60,000-acre Ojibwe reservation along Lake Mille Lacs. There are about 4,000 close neighbors and families who are still quieted by Nickaboine's death a year later, City Pages reported.

Nickaboine's death was the latest of many on the reservation, which has seen increased shootings, muggings, and drugs, much of which the Ojibwe attribute to a new gang called the Native Mob.shootings, muggings, and drugs, much of which the Ojibwe attribute to a new gang called the Native Mob.

According to gang experts, most gangs on reservations appear to be poorly organized. Mahnomen County gang and drug officer Jason Wambach says so far it seems like internal fighting is what's keeping the gang problem from exploding on the reservations, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

The Mille Lacs reservation has revived an ancient form of punishment- banishment. According to City Pages, it is legally called "exclusion" and forbids the offender from entering the land of the reservation for at least five years.

The exclusion punishment has its problems, according to City Pages. "It's impossible to just sit around and patrol for people who have been excluded," says Matthew Fletcher, a tribal law professor from Michigan State University who studies banishment.

The enforcement of banishment is one of the reasons that it is controversial amongst the community. It has also been debated that it is a form of cruel and unusual punishment, as it robs those banished of their identity and their place on the reservation.

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This page contains a single entry by trits006 published on November 18, 2011 1:50 PM.

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