Akiak holds banishment hearing

by Mark Arehart on April 9, 2013

Tomorrow the Akiak Tribal Court will consider banning a man from the village on charges of alcohol importation and drug trafficking.

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“If they don’t shape up, then we’ll ship them out. You know, we banish them from the community as we’ve done for thousands of years,” said Akiak Tribal Leader Mike Williams Sr.

Williams said 31-year-old Joseph Miranda of Anchorage faces that punishment.

Officials say on several occasions this year Miranda brought alcohol and illegal drugs into the dry village.

Miranda is from Anchorage, but has ties to the small Kuskokwim community through his girlfriend.

If found guilty of the charges, Miranda will no longer be allowed to step foot in Akiak.

“We just feel that enough is enough. And we’re going to start cracking down on these individuals and go forward,” Williams said.

He said the tribe has a time honored tradition of dealing with suspected offenders.

“In the village of Akiak, when we suspect a person, then we go ahead and notify them by letter that we need to have a meeting with them, along with the three court judges and the tribal court staff.”

Williams said the court has found individuals guilty of bootlegging in the past year, but only levied fines.

Akiak has not banished a person from the village in several decades.

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