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Sask. First Nation marks sombre anniversary

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Saskatchewan’s James Smith Cree Nation is marking one year since mass stabbings claimed the lives of 11 people and left another 17 injured.

After a four-day manhunt following the stabbings in James Smith and the Village of Weldon, police arrested suspect Myles Sanderson, who died in police custody.

During the search for Sanderson, he evaded police by stealing vehicles and moving around on foot. RCMP sent several emergency alerts to inform the public about Sanderson’s possible whereabouts.

A private memorial service is planned for Monday and the day will wrap up with a candlelit vigil.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) has applauded the James Smith Cree Nation for its strength over the past 12 months.

“We’re approaching the one year anniversary of a horrible incident that shook our region and our country," FSIN fourth vice chief Heather Bear said.

“This is just one page of many chapters in terms of the ongoing healing and the ongoing development.”

It took nearly 40 minutes for police to arrive on the scene after the first 9-11 call on Sept. 4, 2022.

James Smith Cree Nation now has 28 full-time security officers who have been trained in mental health support.

The security team has developed a relationship with the nearest RCMP detachment, 40 kilometres away, in an effort to improve response times.

Saskatchewan RCMP’s commanding officer released a statement about the incident as the anniversary draws near.

“We had over 500 personnel from almost every RCMP Division across the country (including 369 from Saskatchewan) from B.C. to the Northwest Territories to New Brunswick deployed to assist with the initial police response in the hours and days following this mass casualty incident. I am humbled by the continued level of dedication from our employees.”

With files from Laura Woodward 

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