Residents of the Canoe Lake Cree Nation held a peaceful protest on Nov. 2 hoping to draw attention to the negative impacts a local bootlegger is having on the community’s young people.

The dry reserve has been facing ongoing issues with an individual selling alcohol to youth.

Sisters Sarah and Allison Iron both say the unsolicited sale of alcohol to local minors is an on-going problem.

They say one particular bootlegger has been selling alcohol to kids as young as 11-years-old.

The Iron sisters decided to host the protest after an incident involving two young boys who consumed alcohol that was supplied by the bootlegger.

“We had a lot of people standing with us, along with some of our youth and our children,” Sarah Iron says. “We had some elders there, some council and the chief stopped by also. We had a petition going and we got at least 200 hundred signers on that. It turned out really good. It was a nice peaceful protest.”

As the protest was held in front of the bootlegger’s house, RCMP were present to ensure things remained peaceful.

Officers told the protesters that they are willing to help in any way they can.

Chief and Council of Canoe Lake Cree Nation, which is about 30 minutes west of Beauval, will be reviewing the alcohol prohibition bylaw next week in order to find better ways to enforce it.

“Think about the children,” Allison Iron says. “They are our future. We have one of those communities where it takes the community to raise a child. We are trying to keep all children safe and give them a better upbringing as opposed to what she (the bootlegger) is trying to offer them. We would appreciate if she would stand with us, and keep them safe from drugs and alcohol.”

“We thank the community for standing up,” Allison adds. “For taking care of our kids and protesting all together and coming together as one. We want to thank everybody out there for the support and the continued support as we stand together to protect our kids.”

The Iron sisters also plan to organize an anti-drug walk through the community.

(PHOTO: People gathered at Canoe Lake Cree Nation on Nov. 2 to draw attention to a local bootlegger. Photo courtesy Sarah Iron)