Hobbema community healing after the murder of 19-year-old woman

Members of the Samson Cree First Nation are saying the culture of violence is lessening, as residents embrace their roots. Global News

A 19-year-old woman is dead after being stabbed in a Hobbema home Thursday night.

The woman was rushed to Wetaskiwin Hospital, but died shortly afterwards. The RCMP has confirmed the death was a homicide, but are not offering further details.

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit and the Forensic Identification Section are conducting an ongoing investigation. As of yet, they have not released the name of the victim.

It is just the latest incident in what has been a string of violence affecting the community in recent years.

But members of the Samson Cree First Nation are saying the culture of violence is lessening, as residents embrace their roots.

On Saturday, the community hosted an annual pow-wow. This time, however, it was not simply a celebration of culture, the day also captured the essence of what people say is a changing attitude towards violence.

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“This celebration, here that we are having, is to help heal the community,’ said Kirk Buffalo, Samson Cree First Nation band councillor. “We have been through a lot of incidents, but I see the change slowly happening.”

“This community will rise,” he added.

Samson Cree is one of the First Nations that make up the Hobbema community, which has received national attention for a slew of violent incidents in recent years. Thursday’s incident was the most recent in a long list.

However, Buffalo and others like him are saying that trend is weakening, thanks to events like the annual pow-wow that connect youth to their culture – a culture many of them may have forgotten.

“It is really important, especially for the younger generations, to have that pride instilled back in them,’ said Sherry Greene, who grew up in Hobbema.

Greene is raising a daughter of her own, and says that maintaining a strong sense of culture is giving her daughter something invaluable.

“To be aboriginal, and be proud, to have her sense of pride as an aboriginal woman,” she said.

Many people from Samson Cree say their efforts are working. In recent years there has been a growing emphasis on cultural programs in the Hobbema community.

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Many say they have noticed the violence decline as the culture grows.

Organizers of the pow wow say the community will continue to heal. As of yet, the RCMP has made no arrests.

With files from Ross Neitz

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