Donna Ennis: Tribal banishments are a form of cultural genocide

A page from the Fond du Lac Band's removal and exclusion ordinance.

Donna Ennis discusses banishments within the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota:
As of July 2014, 77 people have writs and orders of exclusion from Fond du Lac Reservation. This has been almost exclusively for violent crimes and/or illegal distribution of drugs. Forty six of these individuals are non Natives or Native Americans from another tribe. This means thirty one Fond du Lac Tribal members are currently excluded from the reservation land. Three of the 31 tribal members are minor children. The first tribal member to be banished from the Tribe was on July 12, 2001 and the most recent banishment occurred on July 9, 2014.

Banishment from the Fond du Lac Reservation means removal from the tribal lands but it does not include stripping tribal membership. Banished members are allowed to continue to collect their per capita payment from the tribe and to receive health benefits from the Indian Health Service Clinic located on the reservation.

The ability to connect to their culture in other ways is stripped away, however. For example, the banished may not attend the two powwows that are held every summer at Fond du Lac -- the Sobriety Powwow and the Veteran’s Powwow.

Banishment is another form of cultural genocide and an example of internalized oppression. My fears are especially for our banished youth. Native youth are already experiencing cultural identity issues as well as historical, intergenerational and cultural trauma.

Get the Story:
Donna Ennis: High Cost of Banishment (The Daily Yonder 9/15)

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