Young aboriginals committing senseless acts of violence on one another was the topic of discussion at a gathering in Regina’s inner-city Wednesday.
The day-long gathering focused on healing and finding alternatives to violence.
It brought together area residents, community leaders and elders.
The meeting comes on the heels of a particularly violent week in the Queen city that saw the deaths of three young people.
Elder Pearl MacArthur has lived in Regina’s north central neighbourhood for decades and has seen her fair share of tragedy.
MacArthur says in most cases the violence is fueled by alcohol and drugs.
“I’ve seen many, many things,” she says. “Way too many and it is always alcohol related, never anything else.”
There were two murders and one drug overdose death in Regina last week.
All the victims were of First Nations descent and the accused in both murders are also Aboriginal.
One is a young man and the other a young woman.
These are just the latest in a series of tragedies that have appeared over and over on Regina’s urban streets and affect largely the Indigenous community.
The day of healing was organized by Regina Treaty Status Indian Services.
Manager Erica Beaudin says the cycle of violence needs to be broken.
“All of us are affected in some way,” she says. “There is a lot of grief, there is a lot of anger. There is a need to understand that it is trauma, that it is a cycle of abuse that will have you come up at the end of the day as a victim or a victimizer – sometimes both.”
The morning session was closed to the media so people could speak openly and freely.
In the afternoon, Regina Police Chief Troy Hagen and Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Vice-Chief Kimberly Jonathan also took part in discussions.
Beaudin says she sees the meeting as a first step in the long road to building a better community.