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Arts festival in Saskatoon to showcase Indigenous talent from around the world PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Friday, 19 August 2016 11:44

14-year-old Jordan Daniels was one of a few Indigenous youth chosen to perform at the arts festival following a talent show on Thursday night. Photo by Joel Willick.

For the first time ever, Indigenous talent from around the world will gather in Saskatoon to showcase their skills.

The Saskatchewan World Indigenous Festival for the Arts (SWIFFA) is scheduled for next week at the Delta Bessborough Gardens.

Festival organizer, Curtis Standing says it will be a great opportunity to showcase Indigenous talent in the province.

"It will be nice if we can start bringing some of our music. Not only the traditional music, but contemporary music as well to give some of our youth and amateurs an opportunity to play on a big stage," said Standing.

Festival organizers held a talent show on Thursday night to select several Indigenous youth to perform in the festival. Jordan Daniels of Mistawasis First Nation was one of several youth chosen.

SWIFFA will coincide with the first ever World Indigenous Business Forum to take place in Canada with Saskatoon as the host.

Board chair for the WIBF planning committee, Milton Tootoosis says this is the first time a music festival will be tagged onto the business forum. He says the festival will help showcase Indigenous culture in Saskatchewan beyond the economics to be discussed at the forum.

"We want to tell the world that the values of sharing, preserving and building sustainable economies is all embedded within our culture and we can share those messages through our music," said Tootoosis.

The festival has also partnered with the organization Woman Walking Together to raise funds for missing and murdered Indigenous women.

While festival organizers say they are using the WIBF as a launching pad, they hope to make SWIFFA as staple arts festival in Saskatchewan.


Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2016 11:47
Charges laid in relation to death of boy in Big River PDF Print E-mail
Written by mbcnews   
Thursday, 18 August 2016 18:03

Two people are facing charges following the death of a five-year-old boy in Big River earlier this week in an apparent hit-and-run.

43-year-old Stephen Lalonde of Big River is facing numerous charges, including dangerous driving causing death and impaired driving causing death. 50-year-old Sharon McMahon of Big River is charged with failure to stop and remain at the scene.

All of the charges are in relation to an incident on the night of Tuesday, August 16th, 2016. RCMP say an initial investigation showed that a boy was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike. The boy was pronounced dead later at a hospital.


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 18:07
Judge reserves decision on Stanley bail; hundreds show up in support of Boushie family PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Thursday, 18 August 2016 17:36

Boushie family spokesperson Sheldon Wuttunee speaks to a crowd outside a bail hearing for Colten Boushie's accused killer. Photo by Joel Willick.

It was an emotionally charged atmosphere in the Battlefords on Thursday.

Hundreds of people gathered at two different courthouses throughout the day to show support for the family and friends of Colten Boushie.

Earlier this month, the 22-year-old Boushie of Red Pheasant First Nation was shot and killed at a farm in the RM of Glendale. Gerald Stanley, the man accused of second-degree murder in his death, had two different court appearances on Thursday. The large crowd of Boushie supporters followed. Many carried signs that read "Justice for Colten" and chanted that same sentiment on numerous occasions.

On Thursday, the public witnessed Stanley enter a not guilty plea for the charge against him and a judge reserved his decision on possible bail.

The day began at provincial court where Stanley made a brief appearance and his lawyer entered the not guilty plea. The day's events then switched to the Court of Queens Bench in Battleford, where a bail hearing was scheduled. The evidence presented during the hearing is subject to a publication ban, but one person did leave the courtroom in tears during the proceedings. Many people were expected the presiding judge to render a decision after the hearing, but he says he needs at least a night to think about all the information presented during the afternoon. A written decision is expected either Friday or early next week.

The incident sparked a flood of many racist comments online with politicians and First Nation leaders calling for the comments to stop. Even the RCMP threatened criminal charges for the hateful comments. Outside the courthouse, Colten's friend, Edward Soonias, also called for an end to these comments.

"We all should be together as a community, and we shouldn't be fighting each other," said Soonias.

Soonias along with others affectionately referred to Colten as "CoCo." Many online comments since his passing have called him hard working and respectful. Soonias repeated those comments.

"He did things with dedication, he helped everybody in the community," said Soonias. "He was a good guy, it's unfair for this to happen."

A spokesperson for the Boushie family says while the outcome of the bail hearing wasn't the answer they were looking for, the family will still put their trust in the legal system.

"It's a very difficult time for the family. It was very heartbreaking to hear some of the information conveyed," said Sheldon Wuttunee. "But again, we need to follow through with the investigation as it continues and the legal process that will continue into the upcoming days and months." Wuttunee also thanked all those who gathered in support and encouraged them to remain peaceful in their rallies.

"I want to really ensure that we are sending a message that this isn't a rally of retaliation, but it is a rally of support and love for the incident that's occurred," said Wuttunne.

Speaking to reporters before the bail hearing, FSIN Vice-Chief Kimberly Jonathan echoed these statements, saying the Boushie family has asked everyone be peaceful.

"His brother wanted me to relay to all Canadians that the family wants love and they don't want anger or retaliation," said Jonathan. "His words were that everyone go home tonight and honour Colten in the way of loving your family and community and spreading that goodness."

"He also says they do not paint all farmers with the same brush," concluded Vice-Chief Jonathan.

Stanley's next court appearance will be on September 13th, 2016 at Provincial Court in North Battleford.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2016 06:53
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