Julie Richards of Mothers Against Meth has led a campaign against methamphetamine abuse on reservations in South Dakota. Photo courtesy Julie Richards
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Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe banishes meth dealer

CRST’s banishment of drug dealers upheld

By Alaina Adakai
Native Sun News Correspondent

EAGLE BUTTE - On November 27, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe won a court case that involved a judicial appeal of a banishment order issued to CRST tribal member, Jorie Cavanaugh.

Meth use has been an epidemic on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation for the past decade. The tribe has seen a huge increase in murders, burglary, and assault cases on the reservation related to drug use.

In an effort to fight back, the tribe instituted the traditional Lakota practice of banishment.

In July 2015, the CRST tribal council passed a resolution which banishes individuals who are convicted in any court of selling, trafficking, distributing, and/or dealing of meth.

According to the banishment resolution, there is no appeal process once an individual has been given a banishment order. Banishment from the reservation is a life-long sentence, although a person may appeal the banishment after 5 years.

In May of this year Cavanaugh was convicted of Distribution of a Controlled Substance in federal U.S. District Court. According to court documents, Cavanaugh admitted to distributing methamphetamine on three occasions on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

Cavanaugh was sentenced to six months of home confinement, given a $500 fine, and 4 years of probation. During the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange, made special note that Cavanaugh could carry home confinement “at another home or shelter if banished from the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.”

On May 26, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe issued a Notice of Banishment and Cavanaugh was served by tribal police.

In June, Cavanaugh appealed her banishment in tribal court, but the tribal council elected not to vacate the banishment and dismissed her appeal. Cavanaugh was still physically residing on the reservation at that time.

Court documents state that Cavanaugh “received Notice from the Tribe that she was to leave the Reservation by noon on July 26, 2017.” Again, Cavanaugh appealed in tribal court.


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CRST’s banishment of drug dealers upheld
(Alaina Adakai can be reached at aadakai01@gmail.com)

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