After two Alaska State Troopers were shot and killed in their village last Thursday, Tanana leaders say two of its residents are to blame -- and they want them to leave the community for good.
Residents say there's some history in the push to banish the men. According to the Tanana Tribal Council, while neither Arvin Kangas nor William Walsh are accused of pulling the trigger in AST Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich's deaths, council members say they have said and done things in the past that caused the killings to happen.
With Kangas' son -- 19-year-old Nathanial Kangas -- accused of murdering Johnson and Rich with a rifle after a struggle in Tanana that involved his father, leaders of the small village say they want Arvin Kangas and Walsh banned from ever coming back.
"It's not tolerated here -- everyone has the right to be safe and to feel safe, and not to have threats or be intimidated here," said Curtis Sommer, the chairman of Tanana Tribal Council's chair.
Sommer says Arvin Kangas and Walsh have a history of threats, intimidation and violence in Tanana. Walsh was the leader of the Athabascan Nation, a group that rejected the authority of both state and tribal government. By using extreme words and actions, Sommer and others say the two men brainwashed the younger Kangas to think he had to shoot and kill.
"We eventually knew this was going to come down to it it was just a matter of time, a ticking bomb ready to go off," said Tanana Commercial Store manager Ruby Cruger.
"These guys are non-discriminatory on who they threaten or what they say," Sommer said. "Natives and non-Natives are equally at risk."
The proposed banishment is now in the hands of the tribal courts, which resolve criminal and legal matters among Alaska Native tribes ranging from domestic violence to adoptions. In the past, convicted drug and sex offenders have been banned from villages.
In 1994, a panel of Tlingit elders banished two Klawock teens for beating up a pizza delivery man in Washington state -- an outcome Tanana residents hope to repeat.
"It will be a scar on Tanana; he gave Tanana a big black eye," said Lester Erhart, Tanana's traditional chief.
Arvin Kangas is currently being held at the Fairbanks Correctional Center on a misdemeanor assault charge. The Tanana Tribal Council says William Walsh is not in Tanana at the moment. It's not known when the tribal court will make a decision on their lifetime banishments.