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Lifesaving group targets northern Saskatchewan for water safety classes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 22 July 2016 12:04

Photo courtesy Lifesaving Society - Saskatchewan Branch on Twitter

A lifesaving group is traveling the north offering classes this summer, as part of its wider effort to prevent drownings.

The CEO of the Saskatchewan branch of the Lifesaving Society Canada says statistics show just how important it is to concentrate effort on northern Saskatchewan.

"There is a higher number of drownings in northern Saskatchewan as opposed to southern Saskatchewan," said CEO Shelby Rushton.

The number of bodies of water and lack of access to swimming lessons are a few of the factors at play, she said. Nearly two-thirds of all drowning deaths in the province in the last five years happened in large bodies of water, according to the society's 2016 Drowning Report.

The need for solutions hasn't fallen onto deaf ears at the society.

Rushton said for the past 19 years, they've had summer students deliver classes.

The swimming lessons, pleasure craft certification and first aid training were offered in Lac La Ronge and Air Ronge earlier this month, and are in Patuanak next week.

More than 6,000 people have gone through these lessons over the years, and it's a rewarding effort for Rushton.

"We have people saying 'yeah, my kids took lessons and now we don't have to worry as much,' 'I got to save my friends or my cousin because I took training. Those are great successes for us. And also the fact that people also want to take our higher training and become lifeguards and instructors," she said.

Over the years, the drowning stats have reduced in northern Saskatchewan.

The annual drowning report has plenty of statistics for the past five years that can lead to precautions like wearing a personal flotation device or to refrain from drinking and boating.

Overall, 84 percent of all drowning deaths in the province are male.

This year, there have been at least two deaths in the water: one man who was scuba diving in the Buffalo Narrows area and another man who was swimming at Katepwa Lake.


Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2016 12:25
Ahtahkakoop man pleads guilty to killing his cousin PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 22 July 2016 11:57


On Thursday, 20-year-old Dakota Hilliard John Knife entered a guilty plea to manslaughter, down from the initial charge of first-degree murder for the shooting death of Tyrone Jacob Knife.

Tyrone, 21, was found fatally wounded on a trail on the reserve in September of last year and died before STARS air ambulance could assist.

Tyrone and Dakota were cousins and alcohol was a factor in this case, said Crown prosecutor Frank Atkinson.

The Crown and defense reached the plea deal because there wasn't a likelihood of conviction on the original charge of first-degree murder, Atkinson said.

Intent to kill is what separates murder from manslaughter, and she said that would be difficult to prove in court.

Also, some family members did not want to testify, Atkinson said.

A pre-sentence report is being prepared, and sentencing is set for mid-November.


Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2016 12:07
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
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