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Extraordinary measures to locate dangerous teen PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Friday, 22 July 2016 11:41


Sundance Mentuck. Photo courtesy of the RCMP.

People in the North Battleford area are being warned to be on the lookout for a dangerous teen who escaped from custody while attending a family funeral on the Red Pheasant First Nation Thursday.

Sundance Mentuck has a violent history and should not be approached. Justice officials went to extraordinary lengths to release information about him in an effort to protect the public.

The Youth Justice Act prohibits identifying an offender under the age of 18, but Corrections Department official Drew Wilby says in this case, a court order was issued so justice officials could release an image of Mentuck and a brief history of his violent past.

Wilby says this is not something that is normally done.

"He poses a risk to the community -- a judge in North Battleford agreed with that assessment last night," he said. "Only because of that are we allowed to release that information, we can’t just do that in hopes of having him returned, it has to be a public safety risk."

How Mentuck got away is part of an internal investigation. He was being watched by two guards and procedures require that he be shackled -- including leg irons, which would make running away nearly impossible. Wilby says the investigation will reveal if proper procedures were followed.

"Our policy is when a secure custody youth leaves one of our facilities is to have him shackled -- to have him in a full body belt. A full body belt description would be a belt around the waist with a chain going down to the feet, the feet locked and the hands cuffed to the belt as well," he said.

Mentuck’s age is not being released, but he is younger than 18.

He was serving time at the North Battleford youth facility, but what he was charged with or convicted of is not being released.

If you see Mentuck, you are asked to contact RCMP immediately.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2016 11:55
Organizers say World Indigenous Business Forum will be game changing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Friday, 22 July 2016 07:28

A photo from the 2015 WIBF in Hawaii. Photo courtesy wibf.ca

The World Indigenous Business Forum in Saskatoon is just a few weeks away and organizers couldn't be more excited.

The 2016 edition of the forum is coming to the city in August and will highlight Indigenous business initiatives from around the world.

This is the first time ever Canada will host the forum. Nearly a thousand delegates and participants are expected from as far away as Australia, South America and Africa.

"Our focus is not even on quantity, but quality," said WIBF planning committee chair Milton Tootoosis. "We want quality leaders, quality individuals and business people that are committed to participating and being innovated in the inclusion of Indigenous people in their strategies."

Speakers for this year's event include SIGA's Zane Hansen, B.C. Chief Robert Louie, Lisa Meeches -- a film producer from Long Plain First Nation in Ontario and Cameco's Tim Gitzel. Tootoosis referred to all of the presenters as "game changers" because of their proven work to help improve economic outcomes for Indigenous people.

He says too often we see the negative statistics around Indigenous people in the country. He hopes the forum will help create new statistics for Canada's Indigenous population.

"As a band councillor for Poundmaker Cree Nation, I see first-hand the poverty and the issues and it boils down to own issue -- a lack of money," he said.

"At this forum we are going to hear leaders who have tackled that socioeconomic problem and taken the bull by the horns and taken the full responsibility as leaders to turn that situation around," said Tootoosis. Tootoosis says all the financing for the forum is in place and the organizers now just need to put into place the final logistics.

WIBF will also coincide with the Saskatchewan World Indigenous Festival of the Arts.

Board member Shaun Soonias says the festival is a way to showcase local and international Indigenous talent. He says Indigenous talent can be found worldwide.

"We really want to be able to showcase that here in Saskatoon," said Soonias. "We are hosting a World forum on Indigenous business and we want to showcase our talent to the world."

Organizers of the forum are encouraging those who want to attend to register in advance because walk-ups will be limited.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2016 07:44
U of S researchers make strides in repopulating wood bison herd PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Thursday, 21 July 2016 17:52

One of the newborn calves. Photo by Caitlin Taylor, courtesy Flickr.

Scientists at the University of Saskatchewan have accomplished two world firsts in the area of wood bison reproduction.

This month, the veterinary researchers saw four wood bison calves born through two different methods: the first is in vitro fertilization and the second, transferring a frozen embryo to a surrogate mother. This has never been done before.

These methods were used as a way to eliminate diseases that have historically depleted the herd, so that the newborns are completely free of the disease.

They've been able to do this without displacing or harming any bison, said Dr. Gregg Adams, reproductive specialist at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).

"I'm hoping that that will ease the tensions and increase the confidence of the public and of Aboriginal communities about efforts to conserve this species," he said.

"We can take the genetics of, say these diseased bison, from whatever herd. We can take the eggs and we can take the sperm and we can make healthy babies and we can produce healthy babies in a surrogate population and then replenish the diseased population."

The goal is to repopulate a herd indigenous to Canada that has been decimated by two factors: disease and loss of habitat. There are only between 5,000 and 7,000 wood bison now, which is five per cent of the original population.

The diseases brucellosis and tuberculosis were first introduced to wood bison when they were mixed with cattle in the 1920s, Adams said.

These results were nine years in the making. On a personal level, seeing one of the bison calves only hours after it was born and seeing it stumble and follow its mother was a "tremendously fun, gratifying feeling" for Adams.

"We have four little tan-coloured fuzzy calves out there that don't even look like bison. When they're calves they just look like these little calf babies," he said.

"It was just, a wonderful feeling to see that the babies that we were able to produce using in vitro fertilization are happy, healthy, normal calves. And of course we expected that but now we have proof."

Right now, wood bison are mainly found in the Wood Bison National Park in Alberta.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 July 2016 17:57
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