Pubdate: Fri, 03 Feb 2006
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2006 The StarPhoenix
Author: Ethan Erkiletian


I was horrified to read in the story Band gets tough on drug activity 
(SP, Jan, 27) that right here in Canada, a democratic and accountable 
organization would consider banishment in response to people being 
involved with illegal drugs. How do people so involved with their 
spiritual roots come to consider banishing community members as an 
answer to any problem? Is this what we should expect from First 
Nations people who demand the right of self-governance?

Surely this event isn't representative of all First Nations -- I 
simply don't believe the vast majority are this foolish -- but it 
still must be recognized for what it is: an irresponsible 
overreaction to a social problem.

Leaders should think long and hard about what is accomplished before 
they send community members packing with a horse and six shooter to 
survive the prairies.

I hope the Pasqua First Nation comes to understand that exporting its 
people doesn't export the root cause of the problem. Even if it 
accomplished anything at home, it doesn't take into account the 
community into which the problems are being exported, or help those 
people deal with it.

I implore the Pasqua First Nation leadership to immediately repeal 
this foolish policy and consider further what can be done to help 
band members solve community-based problems. No one should face 
banishment from their peers. This is a punishment rooted in the stone 
ages and long since recognized as cruel, unreasonable and useless!

If drugs are a problem, we should be looking at a more personalized 
and responsible approach. It is shocking enough we throw people in 
jail for using drugs, but banishment is simply outlandish.

Ethan Erkiletian

President, Sask. Marijuana Party

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