Trudeau visits First Nation community that was hit by the stabbing spree

Canada’s Prime Minister’s visit to the James Smith Cree Nation comes after leaders called for resources to establish tribal addiction and police services.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting an indigenous community still grappling with the aftermath of a series of fatal stabbings in September that marked one of the deadliest incidents in Canadian history.

Trudeau will travel to the James Smith Cree Nation on Monday, his office saidto pay their respects to the victims of the riot on September 4, 2022 in the community, located in the central province of Saskatchewan.

The prime minister will meet with the head of James Smith’s Cree nation, Wally Burns, and other indigenous leaders, before making an announcement on Monday afternoon.

Burns had called for increased resources after the attack, including the establishment of tribal police in the community.

Ten residents of the James Smith Cree Nation, home to approximately 1,900 people who live on the reservation, were killed in the series of fatal stabbings. Another person was killed in the nearby town of Weldon, while 18 others were injured.

Canadian police said last month that they believed only one of the two brothers initially accused of being responsible for the attacks carried out the killings.

The Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said Damien Sanderson, initially named as a suspect in the attacks, “was a victim of homicide” by his brother, Myles Sanderson.

After a days-long search for the stabbings, Myles Sanderson was arrested and died after suffering “medical distress” in police custody.

Authorities have not disclosed the motive for the attacks and the RCMP said last month that “the reality is that we may never know exactly why.”

Some community members and indigenous leaders have said that the violence was the result of drug abuse.

“This is the destruction we face when harmful illegal drugs invade our communities,” Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) chief Bobby Cameron said in September.

Burns, the chief of the James Smith Cree Nation, had also called for the launch of addiction awareness programs and the establishment of treatment centers in the community.

“We have to protect our community, fight against drugs and alcohol,” he said days after the party.

Canadian media had reported that Myles Sanderson had a criminal record spanning two decades, with many of his crimes carried out while intoxicated.

Meanwhile, two public inquiries into the attacks in Saskatchewan will take place.

“The events that occurred require a thorough and methodical investigation,” Clive Weighill of the Saskatchewan Forensic Service told reporters on September 21.

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