A First Nation in southern Alberta has passed a new trespassing bylaw that will prevent non-tribe members from entering the reserve without a permit.
The Blood Tribe, near Lethbridge, Alta., declared a fentanyl crisis a year and a half ago after a number of fatal overdoses.
The new bylaw is intended to help curb and minimize illegal drug activity on the reserve.
"The purpose is not to necessarily keep everybody off the reserve. It is to minimize the impact of the fentanyl and other drug-related activities on the Blood reserve and to ensure the safety of our Blood Tribe members," said band council member Dorothy First Rider.
Trespassers will be removed and charged
The bylaw gives Blood Tribe police the authority to stop any people they suspect are not members of the Blood Tribe and request to see an entry permit. If the person doesn't have a permit, police are authorized to remove and charge the trespasser.
"We're not under the false impression that we're going to be able to stop all of the illegal activities," First Rider said.
"This is an opportunity to minimize that kind of activity and it also sends a message out to people engaged in those kinds of activities to think twice before they come on to the reserve."
Non-band members living on the reserve, and those who wish to visit, will be able to obtain permits.
The bylaw comes into effect April 13.
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