REGINA – Community leaders spoke out on Monday afternoon in the wake of the province’s first homicide of 2016.
Fort Qu’Appelle RCMP were called to a firearms complaint at the nearby Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation on January 1 at 3 p.m.
When they arrived at the home they discovered the body of 28-year-old Mario Kaiswatum, a resident of the reserve.
Fellow resident of the First Nation Maurice Maple, 55, was charged with first degree murder. He made his first court appearance on Monday morning.
Chief Rodger Redman said that “everyone knows everyone” on the reserve of 350-400 people, and that necessary support is being made available to those who need it.
“Providing support services for the family is critical,” he explained.
“Because we are a small community. We need to deal with this as a collective, and we had a lot of extended families that witnessed the event that were there.”
Redman said he hasn’t had a chance to speak with the immediate family of those involved, and declined to comment of personal matters.
Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the homicide. Global News spoke to some residents of Standing Buffalo on Sunday, and they said an alcohol ban may be beneficial. However there are currently no plans to implement such a ban.
“You’re making criminals out of people that aren’t criminals. You can buy alcohol at any local store,” said Staff Sgt. Randy Slawson of the Fort Qu’Appelle RCMP.
“At the end of the day it comes down to people’s ability to drink alcohol in a controlled fashion,” he added.
Redman acknowledged that other drugs, including prescription drugs are an issue in the community.
Members of the First Nation will be joining other tribal councils from across the province in Saskatoon for a restorative justice conference on Feb. 3rd and 4th. The impact of drugs and alcohol will be among the topics discussed.Follow @davidbaxter_