Colten Boushie’s family came together for prayer, a pipe ceremony and a memorial feast Wednesday on the first anniversary of the 22-year-old’s death on a rural property near Biggar, Sask.
William Boushie, Colten’s older brother, was one of around 100 people to gather at a community centre on the Red Pheasant First Nation.
WATCH BELOW: Full coverage of the Colten Boushie shooting
Driving to the memorial, he held onto his five-year-old son, thinking either of them could fall victim to a similar tragedy.
“That scared me. I couldn’t fathom what my mom had to go through,” William Boushie said.
Boushie was in a vehicle with others that drove onto a property in the rural municipality of Glenside on Aug. 9, 2016, according to police. An altercation ensued and Boushie was shot and killed.
The property owner, Gerald Stanley, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
In the aftermath, tensions erupted on social media, as some argued Stanley was protecting his farm from would-be thieves, while others said the killing was racially motivated.
Alvin Baptiste, Boushie’s uncle, expressed gratitude for people who have supported his relatives.
“I pity my family that are going through this hardship. My nephews, my sister, my mother,” Baptiste said.
The deceased would likely be humbled by all the attention, according to his cousin, Jade Tootoosis.
“He’d be very shy about it, but I think we’re gathered in a good way to remember him and this is how we were taught and this is what our family does,” Tootoosis said.
In a statement from Stanley’s lawyer, Scott Spencer, the Stanley family shared its condolences, which it also did one year ago.
“The Stanley’s do not pretend to fully appreciate how difficult it is to lose a child. Hopefully when all the facts come out the Boushie family will better understand how the tragedy came to be and that it will be easier for them to heal,” part of the statement reads.
The Stanley family also feels “it is important that both families show mutual respect for each other and allow the legal process to run its course,” according to the statement.
Stanley is out on bail, awaiting a trial scheduled for January 2018.