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Leech Lake Local Councils decide against banishment

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Leech Lake Local Councils decide against banishment
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The Leech Lake Reservation Local Indian Councils decided on Monday against excluding or banishing a tribal member.

Wakinyon Wakan McArthur, 27, who was incarcerated in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, was placed on supervised release Monday. McArthur, an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, served his sentence beginning Jan. 6, 1999, on conviction for second-degree murder in Hennepin County. He killed an acquaintance, Jerome Peake, 21, outside a Minneapolis house frequented by the Native Mob.

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Leech Lake Tribal Attorney Michael Garbow said the Local Indian Councils, composed of leaders from communities on the reservation, voted against recommending banishment. He said the group said they didn't have enough information on exactly what banishment would mean and felt the issue needed more study.

According to press release from Garbow, McArthur is a confirmed high-ranking gang member. The draft resolution states that a representative of the Minnesota Department of Corrections informed the Tribal Council that correspondence between McArthur and other gang members has indicated that McArthur intends to re-establish organized gang activity -- Native Mob -- on the Leech Lake Reservation, "and that this individual has indicated his intent to accomplish this through the use of extreme violence."

"Basically, the problematic area is from the DOC we weren't allowed to have excerpts from the letters," Garbow said.

He said the Local Indian Council members also said an action as important as banishment shouldn't be undertaken without a basis in a uniform code.

Banishment would have excluded McArthur from Leech Lake tribal premises, including tribal housing and tribal communities within the Leech Lake Reservation boundaries. Violation of the banishment resolution would subject McArthur to prosecution in state court.

The man in charge of McArthur's supervision, who asked that his name not be published, said in a telephone interview that McArthur will go into a halfway house in the Twin Cities for up to 60 days after his release from prison. During that time, he said conditions of McArthur's release require him to find a job and a residence. The supervisor said McArthur probably will be put on electronic home monitoring after he moves into his own residence.

The supervisor also said McArthur would violate conditions of parole if he travels to the Leech Lake or Bemidji areas or to Little Earth in the Twin Cities. If anyone sees McArthur, the supervisor said to call law enforcement immediately.

He emphasized that McArthur will be closely watched and will return to prison if he fails in any aspect of his parole requirements.

McArthur was 11 when he first appeared in court. Court records show that by age 15 he had been charged in the Twin Cities with truancy, theft, burglary, tampering with a motor vehicle, assault, escape and gun possession.

In 1995, when he was 16, he was charged with fatally shooting 29-year-old Stacy Rivers at a south Minneapolis party. Citing lack of proof of intent, prosecutors allowed him to plead to unintentional second-degree murder. He got a stayed 12½-year sentence, probation and time in a juvenile home.

In 1998, when he was 19, he was charged with murdering Peake. A jury acquitted him, but then a judge revoked his probation for illegal gun possession, sending him to prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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