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10 years later, slain Mounties to be remembered in Spiritwood PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Thursday, 30 June 2016 11:12

Next week, Spiritwood and surrounding reserves will come together to remember a shooting that stunned the nation and took the lives of two RCMP officers.

On July 7, 2006, Constable Robin Cameron and Constable Marc Bourdages were both shot by a man they had been pursuing in their police cruiser near Mildred.

The manhunt for the shooter, Curtis Dagenais, continued for 12 days before he turned himself in. During that time, 29-year-old Cameron and 26-year-old Bourdages were in intensive care for days before dying.

Now, a series of events on July 5 and 6 will mark the sacrifice those two officers made in the line of duty.

There will be a walk in Spiritwood next Tuesday to raise money for a memorial park that will include a statue of Cameron and Bourdages. Agency Chiefs Tribal Council (ACTC) Chief Steven Jim will be a part of a cheque presentation at that event.

"Other communities in Canada that have lost RCMP officers in the line of duty have erected life seized statues in memory of those fallen members. We want to ensure that our community properly honours Cst's Cameron and Bourdages in the same way," Jim said in a news release.

Sgt. Shannon Haggarty with the Spiritwood detachment is a part of the Cameron and Bourdages Memorial Society.


"It's just important to have a place of peace and remembering, somewhere that community members can go to reflect," she said.

On Wednesday, First Nations culture will be a big part of remembering Cameron and Bourdages. Pelican Lake, Witchekan Lake, Big River, and ACTC will honour their lives with a pipe ceremony, grand entry, feast, round dance, and speeches from the family of the slain officers.

This involvement shows the close relationship RCMP officers have with the nearby reserves, said Sgt. Haggarty.

"Both Robin and Mark were very involved in the youth and in activities on the First Nations because that's part of our policing area," she said. "These two members were not only a part of the RCMP buta part of the community they worked in."

Cameron was a member of Beardy's and Okemasis, and both constables had children. Marking their sacrifice after 10 years is significant, she said.

"It's important for our communities to come together as well as our RCMP family just to show that we help with the healing process.”

Their families will be present at the July 6 memorial and ceremonies.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 June 2016 15:25
Saskatoon Health Region working to establish new smudging facilitation policy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Thursday, 30 June 2016 11:04

In May, the Saskatoon Health Region introduced a new smudging facilitation policy to better enhance patient access to the traditional practice.

Now, the health region is working to educate all of their stuff on smudging and the new policy.

According to the health region, the new smudging facilitation policy is in place to better guide their employees in offering the traditional practice to patients.

The health region has always tried to accommodate smudging, but the policy more clearly defines what smudging is and how employees can better accommodate requests for the service.

Gabe Lafond, the region's Director for First Nations and Metis Health, says they have worked with several patients and community members to get this policy in place.

“It wasn't an easy process, but we are happy to see that we have a policy that has been approved by our board, leadership team and the community, so this has been quite the journey but it has been rewarding,” said Lafond.

The policy was originally introduced in May and the health region has been holding training seminars to help educate staff and interested community members on the practice of smudging and the new policy.

“It helps explain what smudging really means and why community members practice it from a prayer perspective,” said Lafond.

According to the policy, the region will facilitate smudging requests at all of their overnight stay facilities in designated smudging areas.

In special circumstances, smudging may be provided at bed-side as well.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 June 2016 11:06
Minister Bennett to visit former students of Ile-a-la-Crosse Boarding School: Metis National Council PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 18:10

Photo courtesy metisnation.ca

Next month, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs is expected to honour a commitment to visit Ile-a-la-Crosse.

Minister Carolyn Bennett's office contacted the Metis National Council on Wednesday to confirm July 15 as the date she'll speak with former Ile-a-la-Crosse Boarding School students, said President Clement Chartier. MBC is awaiting confirmation from the minister's office.

This visit has been in the works since February when Bennett visited La Loche. She spoke with Metis people from the area about how Ile-a-la-Crosse's claim under the residential school settlement was denied, Chartier said.

The school was run by the Roman Catholic Church starting in the 1860s, and the fact that Canada's government didn't fund the school absolved the feds of responsibility during settlements. This, despite the fact that students in Ile-a-la-Crosse suffered the same type of abuse and cultural mistreatment as other students who did receive compensation, said the chairperson of the Ile-a-la-Crosse Boarding School committee, Jim Durocher.

He uses Beauval Indian Residential School as an example.

"A lot of them didn't know, for example, how to be a mother or how to be a father at home, how to raise children, and that sort of thing because all of stuff was taken away from them when they were attending the schools," Durocher said.

Talks about compensation for abuse suffered at the school has been a long time coming. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was heard on MBC's airwaves on the 2006 campaign trail with a promise he would compensate those students if elected. Later, Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice backtracked on that.

After spending time with Bennett in New York City for a United Nations event in May, Chartier said she is taking a different approach to unresolved boarding school or residential school cases.

"She said that the current agreement is a narrow legal one and that it shouldn't prevent them from moving forward and resolving all issues with all residential schools that Aboriginal kids attended, so she is prepared to engage in a discussion with us. The end result, I don't know," he said.

Durocher urges survivors to put the brakes on signing up with any lawyers who have been approaching them in this case.

The federal government wants "to deal with things at the table, you know, instead of litigation they want to negotiate. And we think that's the way it should be," he said.

It's important for former students to be organized when Bennett arrives, Durocher said.

"We want to be able to have a little strategy meeting because the minister will only have a limited amount of time here and we want to give as many people as possible talk to her, to give her their story," he said.

Chartier agrees, saying former students need to put pressure on the minister to resolve this.

"Now is a great opportunity for us to move forward. We need to convince the minister when she comes to Ile-a-la-Crosse that they need to do the right thing. So the more former students that can make it to the meeting at Ile-a-la-Crosse the better so we can impress upon the minister the need to, in fact, deal with us for once and for all."

Durocher said they can't provide funding for survivors to attend, but will have a lunch in Ile-a-la-Crosse for them.

He said the lunch starts around noon on July 15 and the afternoon will include speeches from local dignitaries like Mayor Duane Favel, MLA Buckley Belanger, and MP Georgina Jolibois.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 June 2016 11:11
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