Tag Archives: drug dealers

Canada’s Largest First Nation Enforces No-Trespass Bylaw Amid Fentanyl Crisis

A new no trespassing sign stands at the side of a highway entrance to Blood First Nation in southern Alberta. The band council hopes to crack down on fentanyl trafficking. (Raffy Boudjikanian/CBC)

Kainai council hopes to crack down on drug dealers on its Alberta territory

CBC News: May 16, 2017

An Alberta First Nation has passed a bylaw that forbids non-band members from entering without a permit and charges non-members who do business there extra fees — in a bid to put the brakes on high numbers of fentanyl-related deaths and overdoses.

“Some very serious drugs are killing our people, and one of the problems that our policing personnel encountered was the inability to be able to deal with outside individuals who … could go about freely on our lands,” said Chief Roy Fox of the Kanai First Nation.

The reserve 223 kilometres south of Calgary, also known as the Blood Tribe First Nation, is the largest in Canada, stretching some 1,400 square kilometres, all the way to Alberta’s U.S. border.

The First Nation declared a state of emergency in March 2015, after 20 people died and 60 suffered non-fatal overdoses in the previous six months.

Problem ‘anywhere and everywhere’

Eugena Chief Moon, 27, was one band member who died of an overdose later in 2015, leaving three children behind. Her loved ones are expressing hope the new bylaw will act as a deterrent against drug dealers.

Eugena Chief Moon was one of many Blood tribe members who died of a fentanyl overdose. (Kassidy White Feathers)

“It’s hard for me,” said her grandmother Myrna Chief Moon. “Because out of nowhere she disappeared. She’s still young, she’s still healthy, I still think Gena’s still around.”

“Because she’s not supposed to go.”

Eugena’s friend Kassidy White Feathers lives on a street in the reserve’s town site nicknamed “Oxy Alley” because of the frequent drug transactions there.

She said it has been cleaned up after police removed some dealers, but the situation on the reserve in general has only worsened.

Kassidy White Feathers (left) and Myrna Chief Moon comfort each other over the death of Eugena Chief Moon, their friend and granddaughter respectively. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

“I’d say it’s probably the worst I’ve ever seen it,’ she said. “It’s sad the way it’s turning out to be. A lot of people, kids, young kids, you know, elders, and it seems like anywhere and everywhere, that’s where it is.”

The reserve’s latest official numbers, from November 2016, say emergency services received 164 calls for overdoses since June 2014, though it is unknown how many of those were fatal.

“There was just death after death from overdose,” said Gayle Chase, a prescription drug co-ordinator on the reserve. “They used the fentanyl, not even really knowing what they were getting themselves involved with.”

White Feathers said she hopes the new bylaw will make a difference. “It’s not normal to have people overdosing every day, and it’s not normal for us to pretend it’s not happening to our loved ones,” she said.

Some dissent

A newly installed sign dots the side of Alberta Highway 2 south near the entrance to the First Nation. “Blood Indian Reserve: No Trespassing,” it reads, informing those who disobey they will be prosecuted, and demanding visitors obtain a valid permit.

There are those who disagree with the bylaw.

Donald Bottle owns a local business on the territory, and as a Blood member, he is exempt from the permit charges.

Local business owner Donald Bottle says the new bylaw unfairly infringes on the rights of those who visit the Blood Reserve to do business. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

But he believes the bylaw is an infringement of people’s rights. “Those that come to do business in the boundaries of the reservation, in the areas of gas, commodities, food to the store, it’s going to affect those that are supplying our goods to the reservation,” he said.

For the band council, though, that is a minor consideration in the face of the fentanyl crisis.

Chief Fox said the permit system will allow police to narrow down who should be rightfully present on Blood territory and who should not.

“What is more important?” he asked. “Saving the lives of our people, our young people, or making it inconvenient or convenient for some of our friends and visitors who come to visit us?”


Indigenous Groups Take Stand Against Drug Dealing and Violence at Portage Place Mall

Police presence as Indigenous activists gathered at the back of Portage Place Mall. Photo: Red Power Media

Indigenous activists want to deter drug dealing at downtown mall

A group of Indigenous activists are making their presence known around Winnipeg’s Portage Place Mall to deter drug activity.

Members of the Urban Warrior Alliance and Crazy Indians Brotherhood have been congregating near the back entrance of the shopping Centre since mid-week.

The area in back of the mall is a well-known drug dealing site for pills and other narcotics.

Both groups have been occupying space where the drug dealers hang out and peacefully confronting those involved with the drug activity.

Activists say there is too much violence happening in and around the mall because of the drugs.

According to Vin Clarke, a member of the Urban Warrior Alliance “The women and the children don’t feel safe. The elders don’t feel safe walking through the back [of the mall] so we decided we’re going to shut all this down.”

Red Power Media was there when the groups first gathered on Thursday and spoke with organizers who said they planned to remain at the mall for the weekend. They are also planning a prayer walk on Sunday starting noon at the back of the shopping centre.

More than a dozen people rallied behind the mall on Saturday afternoon, some with drums, while warriors in camo waved Unity flags.

Denny Wood, an activist with the Alliance, said they are trying to send a message to drug dealers.

Wood told CBC News they have talked to dealers who try to sell pills like Tylenol 3 and Xanax. He said once activists have the pills in their hands they confiscate them. “We dump it right in front of them.”

Vivian Ketchum, a frequent shopper of the mall, found a drug baggie, a needle and a pill on the ground just steps outside of the back steps of the mall while a CBC camera was rolling.

The action by the groups started after an elder from the indigenous community had her cell phone stolen. The woman told Red Power Media she was recording an incident at the back entrance involving drug dealers with a gun when someone else took her phone to get rid of the evidence.

Tatty, who is with the Crazy Indians Brotherhood, said people have been robbed at gunpoint behind the Portage mall, including his aunt. She was robbed at gunpoint last week and had her purse taken.

“They wanted money to get more drugs,” he said.

Security for the Portage Place Shopping Centre refused to make a comment to Red Power Media about the allegations. The Winnipeg Police have so far also refused to make a statement about the activists presence at the mall.

In a video recorded by Red Power Media, members of the urban warrior alliance dump pills in a puddle and then crush them.

By Black Powder, RPM Staff

Indigenous Communities Across Canada Move to Banish Drug Dealers

The Atikamekw community of Obedjiwan, located about 600 kilometres north of Montreal, uses banishment.

The controversial tactic of banishment is catching on in Indigenous communities across Canada.

Fighting rampant drug use, advocates say the tool should be used against drug dealers.

Bobby Cameron, the regional chief for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, is among many prominent figures publicly endorsing the strategy.

He estimates in Saskatchewan alone, 10 First Nations communities have implemented a banishment policy for individuals suspected of dealing drugs.

Bobby Cameron says banishment can be used as one of several approaches to addressing drug abuse on reserves. (Adam Hunter/CBC)

“And there are many more who have begun the discussion.”

Trina Roache, the Atlantic correspondent for APTN National News, says it’s difficult to tackle criminal behaviour in small communities because going to the authorities is risky.

“People don’t want to go forward because they’re going to be labelled as a rat,” Roache tells Anna Maria Tremonti.

“When [dealers] are charged, they come back, and sometimes the case can fall apart because there’s that intimidation factor.”

And Cameron says drug dealers and gangs on reserves are targeting children as young 10.

He goes on to explain that the terms of banishment vary between communities. But typically banishment would apply to individuals charged with drug dealing, and those who are banished may return to the community after a few years if they demonstrate rehabilitation.

‘Banishment is not new … For hundreds of years, long before any government set foot on these ancestral lands — there was banishment.’ – Bobby Cameron

But Cameron stresses banishment is one tool among many that should be used in fighting drug abuse on reserves.

He says resources for treatment, education about the impacts of addiction, and ownership of the Indigenous justice system are also crucial.

And communities that want to use banishment may meet legal hurdles. There are concerns the policy could be challenged under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But Hadley Friedland, a professor of law at the University of Alberta, says this may be an opportunity to refine the relationship between the Canadian legal system and Indigenous law.

“We’ll start seeing successes, and it will be a great springboard for conversations about implementing Indigenous laws and making Indigenous communities safe.”

“We need to look the other way as well, and say ‘what have we created that makes drug dealers find First Nations such an enclave to go to?’ We don’t want First Nations carrying that load for of all Canadian society.”

Listen to the full conversation HERE

Originally published by CBC Radio on March 14, 2017


Five Suspected Drug Dealers Banished From Blood Reserve

The Blood Tribe and Police Service update on the Oxy 80 outbreak

Five individuals have been charged by the Blood Tribe Police for allegedly trafficking drugs

By Red Power Media, Staff

The Blood Tribe was the first Alberta community to sound alarms about the rise of fentanyl abuse, now five non-tribal members – all currently facing drug-related charges – are banished from the reserve.

In a release issued Thursday afternoon, Blood Tribe leadership said they have made it official to enforce an action for trespassing on reserve lands.

Five individuals have been charged by the Blood Tribe Police for allegedly trafficking drugs, as well as for firearm possession.

Two of them are Shoul Akayi Dang and Khawai Jany, were both arrested during a vehicle stop on the reserve, Oct. 29.

Police seized nearly 74 suspected fentanyl pills, 29 grams of suspected cocaine, four grams of marijuana, $1,600 in cash, a knife and firearm ammunition.

Dang was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking fentanyl, breach of recognizance and breach of a firearm prohibition. Jany was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine, and possession of cannabis marijuana.

A portion of the Band Council Resolution states that “Shoul Akayi Dang and Khawai Jany are not authorized to be on the Blood Reserve and therefore are trespassers and any implied or express invitation to them is revoked and they are specifically banished from the Blood Reserve and if they, or any one of them, is found on the Blood Reserve they, or any one of them, will be considered to be trespassing on the Blood Reserve and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”


Also banished from the Blood Reserve are Shay Vincent Saddleback, charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, and Stacey Neal Saddleback and Kyle Mitchell Saddleback, charged with the possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, left, talks with Marsha Wolfchild as she hands out take home naloxone kits in Standoff in March. GAVIN YOUNG / CALGARY HERALD

Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, left, talks with Marsha Wolfchild as she hands out take home naloxone kits in Standoff in March. GAVIN YOUNG / CALGARY HERALD

Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, a physician on the reserve, began warning about a spike in deaths from fentanyl use in the fall of 2014.

Since then, the reserve has responded by increasing police patrols, opening a 24-hour crisis line for users, distributing a life-saving antidote called naloxone which reverses the effects of overdoses, and prescribing suboxone, a replacement therapy designed to treat opioid addictions, among other steps.

Insp. Joseph Many Fingers, of Blood Tribe police, said the reserve has seen a decline in fentanyl use since May, following these community efforts and a police crackdown on suspected dealers.

The Blood Tribe Police Service encourages the general public to submit tips to the Crime Reduction Unit at their anonymous tip email: oxy@bloodtribepolice.com. Telephone: 430-737-8800 or submit information at http://www.tipsubmit.com.

Blackfeet Reservation To Banish Accused Drug Dealers

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council has voted to banish accused drug dealers from the reservation because they argue federal prosecutors aren’t doing enough to pursue cases against them. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council has voted to banish accused drug dealers from the reservation because they argue federal prosecutors aren’t doing enough to pursue cases against them. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Associated Press | Sept 14, 2015

Suspected drug dealers are no longer welcome on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council has voted to banish accused drug dealers or “undesirables” from the reservation, saying federal prosecutors aren’t doing enough to pursue cases against them.

Banishment has been used as a punishment on the reservation before and the tribe will start using it again, Chairman Harry Barnes tells the Flathead Beacon.

Barnes said that under a motion passed by the council earlier this month, known drug dealers will be escorted to the reservation boundary and informed that if they come back they will be arrested.

Tribal courts can only prosecute misdemeanors. Federal law requires federal prosecution in the case of suspected major felonies committed by Native Americans on a reservation. The Blackfeet say the federal government has left some cases uncharged.

Barnes said banishment would not apply to suspected drug users, just dealers “who are preying on our reservation and our people.”

Attorneys who specialize in tribal law said banishment may raise civil rights issues, while others understand why the decision was made.

“The idea that an accused person that has not been convicted of a crime by a jury of their peers could be banished does raise some civil rights concerns,” said Seattle attorney Gabriel Galanda. “If precautions are not taken, a banishment or exclusion could be disastrous for a tribe, in fact, it could backfire.”

An exclusion would apply to a nontribal member.

Kalispell attorney Thane Johnson, who was a tribal judge from 2002-2006, said it is frustrating to see major crimes including sexual assaults and drug cases fall through the cracks because the tribe can’t prosecute felonies.

“The tribe has a point because there is a problem with the system and a lot of crimes go unpunished,” he said.