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Impassioned plea for closure at inquiry PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 12:03

Myrna LaPlante. Photo courtesy of Native Women’s Association of Canada.

There was an impassioned plea this morning on behalf of all the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The plea came from Myrna LaPlante, whose 78-year-old aunt vanished without a trace 10 years ago. She begged anyone who has information on these cases to come forward, to end the suffering of families and to provide closure.

"We need your help, we need your love, we need your prayers, we need your involvement," she said. "We need to come together as a country to end these disappearances."

It was September of 2007 when Emily Osmond LaPlante vanished without a trace from her acreage on the north edge of the Kawacatoose First Nation, which is near Wynyard.

Speaking to the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, her niece, Myrna LaPlante, talked about the financial and emotional journey the family has been on for the last 10 years.

She says the RCMP searched for three days, then pretty much left it up to the family. Myrna says they have struggled for answers ever since.

"This is our life now, this is the life we live, we try to have a happy family, we try to live a somewhat normal life. Our family has been forever changed by these events," she said.

LaPlante says she recently heard from the RCMP, who told her the case is still open. She says it was the first time she had heard from them in seven years.

The inquiry is conducting its hearings in Saskatoon this week. This is its only Saskatchewan stop.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 12:12
 
Conference focusing on preserving Indigenous language taking place in Saskatoon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Travis Radke   
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 07:59

Photo courtesy of Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre

The First Nations Language Keepers Conference is kicking off today at the Saskatoon Inn and Conference Centre.

Speeches on the importance of preserving Indigenous languages from elders, academics and educators will highlight the two-day annual event. The conference is currently in its 12th year, and is hosted by the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre.

"For this year, we've really, really made an effort to highlight some of the more endangered languages like Nakota (and) Dakota," said Melody Wood, an Indigenous knowledge systems researcher and event organizer. "In order to truly understand the culture, you need to understand the language. Understanding that language has a spirit -- I think would be a great motivator for people to continue to learn language."

Topics of how to introduce children to Indigenous languages will also be discussed at the conference.

"It all begins in the home, so we really try to reach out to parents," said Wood. "If you know your language, speak it at home because it's so important. There really is a community effort, and that's why it is open to everyone."

The First Nations Language Keepers Conference will start this morning and will continue until Thursday afternoon.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 08:18
 
Man once prevented from running in band election declared new chief PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kelly Provost   
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 17:30

The chief electoral officer for the Montreal Lake Cree Nation says he is prepared to swear in a new chief on Wednesday.

Clifford Bird says Frank J. Roberts will be the new chief by acclamation.

The band's appeal tribunal had previously ordered a special by-election to be held next Monday.

It was to include the three people who ran in the chief election earlier this year -- Chief Edward Henderson, Roger L. Bird and Joyce G. McLeod -- and Roberts, who had previously been prevented from running.

Clifford Bird says Henderson failed to submit a declaration of intent to seek re-election, while Roger Bird and McLeod submitted notices of withdrawal, leaving Roberts as the only candidate.

The electoral officer says the swearing-in ceremony will be held Wednesday evening at the Senator Allen Bird Memorial School gymnasium in Montreal Lake.

"At this point in time, we have no order that we can't use band buildings for this," Bird says. "So I continue to be under the understanding of band members with this being a process of the nation that we continue to be able to have access to these buildings."

The band manager has previously questioned the legitimacy of the special by-election, arguing among other things that a band council resolution has not been passed to make it official.

Mark D'Amato has also argued Roberts should be disqualified from running because of an alleged debt to the band, adding there is no evidence Clifford Bird contacted the proper band officials to investigate that claim.

The electoral officer says a process is underway to have the courts help enforce the latest developments.

Neither Henderson nor D'Amato has been immediately available for comment.

 
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