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Elders on Sask. First Nation sit ready with 'a loaded gun' after alleged meth-fuelled assault, chief says

Buffalo River Dene Nation Chief Norma Catarat was in Saskatoon pleading for help after an elder in that community was beaten by an intoxicated woman last Friday.

“Elders are sitting at night with a gun loaded so their wife can sleep,” Catarat said. “It is a crisis, it is an emergency – we need to do something now.”

The woman who committed the assault has gang affiliations and was recently released from Pinegrove Correctional Centre. She was in a crystal meth psychosis when she broke in to the elder’s home, grabbed the elder by her hair, dragged her into the hallway and beat her, says Catarat.

With few options left available to community members, Catarat is asking for supports like a mental health centre and a detox centre to tackle the growing drug crisis.

She said the council has looked at hiring private security to patrol the community for roughly $200,000 as an immediate way to make a difference.

Elder Lawrence Piche say too many young people in the area have lost their way. He says three different gangs in town have him constantly worried.

“Because I have grandchildren that's in that gang. And it hurts because I know where my grandson is going -- he's going to go to prison,” Piche said.

While a pricey security force can help now, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron said his organization has developed and started the First Nations Police Association, which would be “guided and supported” by chiefs and First Nations councils across the country.

“To do the groundwork right at the First Nation level, to have eyes and ears right at the First Nation level,” he said.

Cameron said the First Nations police detachments would be federally funded like the RCMP.

Cameron said he’s met with RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki and assistant commissioner Rhonda Blackmore about the initiative.

“Prime Minister Trudeau and his federal government said ‘policing is an essential service,’” Cameron said.

“For us, policing is a treaty right when treaties were signed in the 1800s.” Top Stories

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