SASKATOON -- The Poundmaker Cree Nation west of the Battlefords is implementing custom laws for banishment to address drug and alcohol issues on the First Nation.

A letter sent to residents on March 16 said band members who threaten the harmony and safety of the community by selling, offering or harbouring alcohol or drugs including cocaine, crack cocaine, meth and fentanyl will be banished for five years.

There will also be mandatory drug and alcohol testing for all band staff at any time who will face further consequences if they fail, the letter said.

Chief Duane Antoine said this is a zero tolerance policy and that the banishments will be done through a Band Council Resolution (BCR).

He said because RCMP say they don’t have the authority to enforce the resolutions, the band will take matters into its own hands.

“That’s the penalty here. We want to look after our kids as well as elders in the community.”

He said his First Nation is encouraging others to take a similar approach and will be hosting a meeting for chiefs on March 30.