Doug Cuthand, Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Back in the day, when an indigenous person committed a serious crime — usually a murder or a sexual assault — elders and band leaders would determine if the person was a threat to the community; if so, he or she would be banished.
The safety and well-being of the band was paramount. This was a serious decision because it almost always meant death for the offender. Back then, people lived together for cooperation and protection from wild animals and enemy tribes. The huge herds of buffalo were preyed on by fearsome predators. Packs of buffalo wolves — larger than timber wolves — followed the herds. Lone predators, including cougars and the plains grizzly, were among the apex killers on the plains.
A lone, unarmed human’s best hope was to run like hell and find another band to live with.
Today, various First Nations are revisiting the practice of banishment to protect the community and provide a safe place for members...http://thestarphoenix.com/opinion/columnists/cuthand-bigots-emboldened-but-spirit-of-peace-alive