(Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC) —The emergency in Saskatchewan has ended after many days of fear and terror in the James Smith Cree Nation and village of Weldon with the capture and death of Myles Sanderson, the man accused in a mass stabbing that left 10 dead and 18 others injured. The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) sends condolences and prayers to the families of victims and to community members as they grapple with the senselessness of this violence.
“I am shocked and saddened by this violent attack and offer my deepest sympathies for the loss and pain experienced by the families and friends of the victims, and to the members of the James Smith Cree Nation, during this very difficult and tragic time,” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee.
The Regional Chief continues, “Canada’s social and justice & policing systems continue to fail Indigenous peoples. We must immediately see resources and mental health supports directed to these grieving communities. In addition, the BCAFN calls on the government of Canada to expedite justice and policing reforms and work with Indigenous communities to build upon and maintain their areas of innovation and concern.”
Across the nation the healing process has begun as ceremonies are conducted to show solidarity with the James Smith Cree Nation. Donations to the community are very much appreciated and can be sent by e-transfer to email@example.com or mail to James Smith Cree Nation, Box 1059, Melfort, SK, S0E 1A0.
“I strongly encourage anyone who is struggling under the weight of this tragedy to speak to their Elders, participate in ceremony or talk to mental health professionals,” added the Regional Chief. “It is a critical time when we must come together and help each other with the grief so many are feeling.”
Support is available for anyone affected by the latest reports. You can talk to a mental health professional via Wellness Together Canada by calling 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 686868 for youth or 741741 for adults. It is free and confidential.
The Hope for Wellness hotline offers immediate help to Indigenous people across Canada. Mental health counselling and crisis support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca
In British Columbia, KUU-US Crisis Line 1-800-588-8717 and the Tow-Tun-Le Lum Society 1-888-403-3121.