SASKATOON – Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron spent time Monday in Saskatoon with the families of some of those injured in last Friday’s mass shooting in La Loche.
“We’re doing what we can,” said Cameron,” to make them as comfortable as we can, whether its meals or transportation.”
He was planning to do more of it on Tuesday, after spending the weekend in La Loche meeting with community leaders, and families of the victims.
FULL COVERAGE: La Loche school shooting
Cameron told Global News he was in a state of shock and disbelief when he first heard the news last Friday.
“We relay our condolences and prayers, we’ve been offering prayers every morning,” he said.
But he said the problems in the north are long term, and well documented – the same problems, he said, as when he taught in Buffalo Narrows more than a decade ago.
“You’ve got the socio economic problems, alcohol and drug abuse, mental wellness,” he said.
“You’ve got the very limited, very limited programs and initiatives for our youth after school and on weekends when they’re at a much, much higher risk to be involved from peer pressure and alcohol and drugs.”
Cameron said he was glad to see leaders like Premier Brad Wall and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in La Loche on the weekend. He said he hopes it leads to long term commitments to get La Loche and other northern communities some of the programs they need – things that people in many other parts of the country take for granted.
“Whether they’re sports and recreation programs, healing programs,” he said, adding it’s important to take direction from the people of La Loche and Clearwater River Dene Nation on what is needed.
“We’re not here to blame anybody,” he said.
“We’re here to find a good resolve that’s going to have a positive impact for the people in the north.”
He said the important thing is that the various levels of government work together to bring about lasting improvements.
“It takes a whole community to raise a child,” said Cameron, and he hopes the recent visits by high profile leaders translates into the long term political support that the region needs.