The uncle of 22-year-old Colten Boushie says he hopes a First Nations health summit in Saskatoon helps his family seek “wisdom” on how to continue healing after his nephew was shot and killed last August at a farm near Biggar, Sask.
The Boushie family was honoured by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) at the summit on Tuesday morning. Alvin Baptiste spoke to the crowd beforehand and said he has taken a big step along his healing journey.
“I forgive this man that took my nephews life, I don’t want to carry this anger through life,” Baptiste told reporters after he spoke at the summit.
“To bottle this anger, what it does is it wrecks your life totally.”
Boushie’s family was presented with blankets by FSIN leaders and were offered personal condolences from many at the summit, who lined up to embrace and shake hands with the group.
“I felt it in my heart and appreciate all the people that are behind my family,” Baptiste said of the gesture.
The occasion comes days after Gerald Stanley’s preliminary hearing was held in North Battleford, Sask. The trial is expected to commence sometime later this year.
FSIN vice-chief Heather Bear noted that the Boushie family has “some difficult times ahead of them.”
“As leaders in health, the well being of our families, the well being of our communities, is very, very important.”
Bear said that the health summit was a fitting place to honour the family, given the negative health effects that can result from grief.
“The shock, the trauma, the depression, the self-medicating, alcohol and drugs,” Bear said.
“It’s incidents like this that keep our people vulnerable,” Bear said.
The summit runs until Thursday and will cover a number of topics.