Black Lake Elder Bemoans Youth Incarcerations

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 at 14:47



An elder from Black Lake says relations between the band and the RCMP have to change before any more youth get in trouble with the law.


Pierre Robillard says it upsets him to see so many of his community’s youth stuck in Prince Albert jails.


Robillard took part in yesterday’s justice conference in the city, where residents of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation communities and bands in the Athabasca Basin talked with various officials about ways of addressing the root causes of crime.


Some of the ideas discussed at the meeting include a plan to educate more RCMP officers about life in the Far North and for communication between the police management boards in the communities and the RCMP to be strengthened.


Robillard also says RCMP officers have to understand that when they arrive in his community from Regina, they are in a different setting — meaning the customs and tactics they are used to employing may have to change.


He hopes dialogues between the RCMP and elders can help address this shortcoming through a long-term strategy, which he feels is needed for the benefit of the youth.


As well, Robillard believes it would be good if elders in Black Lake and local youth talked more often about problems, as he feels too many youth find themselves in trouble with the law.