Elgin “Chucky” Sasakamoose. Photo courtesy Facebook.
A large, well-known family from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation is in mourning after a shooting on the reserve on Tuesday.
The family of Fred Sasakamoose, who was the first aboriginal man to play in the NHL, has confirmed his son Elgin “Chucky” Sasakamoose is the man who died after a day-long police hunt.
When they located Chuck, a gun was fired – seemingly by himself- and he was pronounced dead soon after.
Chuck was the RCMP’s sole suspect in a shooting earlier that day where a 56-year-old man was killed near the reserve’s health centre. The RCMP has not yet identified the victim, or a motive for the shooting.
That incident prompted the RCMP to ask all residents to stay in their homes.
MBC spoke with Fred earlier this month about his efforts to help troubled youth on reserve, and in that interview Fred touched on the problems within his own family.
He said he often speaks to kids at hockey camps about how drugs, and the legacy of residential schools have shaken people on reserve.
“I know my reserve is suffering and I know that other reserves are suffering too, you know the communities and town, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina, you name it. Even my own family is suffering, I’m not going to hesitate, I’ll be honest with you, I have a problem, not me directly but I have a problem directly to my children, my kids, my grandchildren.”
He said helping people on the reserve is not only a calling to help Ahtahkakoop’s future, but to help his own family’s. Fred has a large family, with about 122 grandchildren.
“I’m hoping someday it’s drug free. It’s related with drugs – nything that’s happening in your communities, it’s related with drugs or alcohol. It’s all related with that darn stuff,” he said.
Fred’s daughter-in-law Jolee Sasakamoose says Chuck’s death is hitting the family hard and they’ll need time to come to terms with what has happened.
Facebook has filled with outpourings of loving messages from those in the Sasakamoose family who remember Chuck.
The family isn’t taking media calls at this time.