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Increased violence leads to state of emergency at Onion Lake Cree Nation

Increased violence leads to state of emergency at Onion Lake Cree Nation
WATCH ABOVE: Onion Lake emergency.

A state of emergency has been declared by a Saskatchewan First Nation after a “rash of drug and gang-related activities.”

Leaders at Onion Lake Cree Nation (OLCN) said they made the declaration due to increased violence in the community.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan funding supports those exiting gang life

They said there were three incidents over a 24-hour period that led to the declaration.

The first, they said, was a high-speed chase through the community on Jan. 21.

Then, the body of a missing man was discovered by a search and rescue crew near the community.

READ MORE: Sask. RCMP probe sudden death of man reported missing

The third incident involved a reported stolen vehicle, OLCN said. In a release, leaders said it lost control while speeding in the community, drove into the arena’s parking lot and collided with the side of the building, causing extensive damage.

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Officials said graffiti believed to be affiliated with gangs was found in the vehicle.

“The problem has been steadily increasing over the last year and it is now to the point that we are having three very serious and scary incidences happening in one day,” Okimaw Henry Lewis said in a statement.

“Everyone is stretched to their limits.”

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Lewis said the local RCMP detachment is experiencing above-average monthly open case files and more police resources are needed to deal with the issues and help make people in the community feel safe.

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“The RCMP are working hard and trying their best but they need more help,” Lewis said.

“Their resources are stretched too thin and our community needs the support of both levels of government before it gets worse.”

“We need the government to come to our tables and help us create a gang strategy and find solutions that work for our nation.”

Onion Lake Cree Nation is roughly 280 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.