In their fight against crime, some aboriginal communities in Quebec are trying to restore an old judicial practice: exile. In March 2017, the Council of the Abitibiwinni First Nation expelled a man accused of drug trafficking from his community. He is banished from his community until he receives his sentence. This is a Canada-wide phenomenon. More recently, Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan, said that 10 first nations in his province have evicted individuals from their territory for similar reasons. The practice, he said, is being adopted across Canada. "Banishment is not new," he said on CBC Radio. "For centuries, long before any government set foot on these ancestral lands, there was exile."
But the reappearance of this traditional practice in modern times is just one element in a broader movement to transform justice in Indigenous communities. Across the country, chiefs, elders and councils are redesigning the legal system to reflect the values, traditions and beliefs of their people.
Minokin: Repairing our Justice is a unique documentary about this collective quest as it is being lived out in communities across Quebec.