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Old 01-06-2008, 01:42 AM   #1
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Traditional justice or clemency in Aquash murder case not justified, for now

Interview conducted By Christine Graef
News From Indian Country

Paul DeMain, Ojibwe/Oneida, is managing editor of News From Indian Country on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation at Reserve, Wisconsin and President of the Navajo Times Publishing Company Board of Directors.

A former Indian Country policy liaison with Wisconsin’s Gov. Tony Earl’s administration, he holds positions in the Great Lakes Big Drum Society at Lac du Flambeau and Chief’s Drum at Lac Courte Oreilles. DeMain is a member of the Medicine Lodge, a tribal court counselor and former president of the Native American Journalists Association.

Here DeMain addresses the call by some individuals for using a traditional system of justice to remedy several murders that are currently under investigation or prosecution.


A long time ago, a traditional forum for judging someone who murdered a community member may have meant that you take the person out and execute them or banish them outside of the country with no weapons, or whatever else the person needs to survive on their own, DeMain said. That was a long time ago, when the world was wide open.

“That doesn’t work nowadays,” he said. “You don’t go to a sweat lodge or tepee and say oops, I’m sorry we killed your mother. We’re sorry. Oh, well, everything is forgiven. Oops, we killed the wrong person. We thought she was an informant but she wasn’t.”

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