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Healing and heartache at feast honouring Colten Boushie one year after killing
Kevin Menz and Angelina Irinici, CTV Saskatoon
Published Wednesday, August 9, 2017 6:35PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, August 10, 2017 12:20PM CST
A ceremonial fire burned all afternoon outside the Chief Glen Keskotagan Community Centre.
The flames were kept burning as about 100 people gathered inside the Red Pheasant Cree Nation’s community hall Wednesday to mark one year since the death of Colten Boushie.
“He will always be remembered in our hearts, and he’ll always be in our memory. I always think about Colten all the time,” Alvin Baptiste, Boushie’s uncle, said.
The traditional feast was open to all. Family and friends of Boushie, strangers and even RCMP officers attended to eat in memory of the 22-year-old, who was from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation.
A traditional feast, in many Indigenous cultures, is held on the anniversary of a death and is an opportunity for family and friends to heal, according to Baptiste.
The group gathered to remember Boushie sat in a large circle — some on blankets on the floor and some in chairs. The food and area was smudged and a prayer and traditional pipe ceremony took place before attendees ate. The food was supplied by Boushie’s family and others who brought items to contribute to the feast.
“He’d be very humbled. He’d be very shy, actually,” Boushie’s cousin Jade Tootoosis said. “He’d be shy, but I think we’re gathered in a good way to remember him.”
Boushie was shot and killed on a farm near Biggar, Sask., on Aug. 9, 2016.
Gerald Stanley, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with second-degree murder in the death. His trial is scheduled to begin in January.
The case has ignited racial tension across the province: Premier Brad Wall condemned racial comments on social media after Boushie’s death, and rallies have taken place outside of court in support of Boushie and his family.
William Boushie, Colten’s brother, said Wednesday he hopes no one else dies the way Colten did, adding he can’t image what the experience was like for his mother.
“I was holding my youngest son’s hands, and to think that that could have been me, that could have been my son, it scared me. I couldn’t fathom what my mom had to go through,” he said.
He remembers his brother approaching everyone with a smile, and said similarities exist between us all.
“He was just a human being,” William said. “There’s no other way to put it. We all breathe the same, drink the same water, wake up to the new day.”