James Smith Cree Nation Chief Wally Burns stands for a photograph in a classroom at the school on James Smith Cree Nation on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Wally Burns is headed to Toronto to meet with federal ministers a series of deadly stabbings in his community earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

James Smith Cree Nation chief to meet with federal ministers to discuss stabbings

JAMES SMITH CREE NATION — The chief of a Saskatchewan First Nation that was the site of a series of deadly stabbings earlier this month is heading to Toronto for a meeting with federal cabinet ministers.

Chief Wally Burns of James Smith Cree Nation says his community has been left broken and saddened by the violence.

On Sept. 4, 10 people were stabbed to death and another 18 injured in the community and the neighbouring village of Weldon, Sask.

The suspects, brothers Damien and Myles Sanderson, also died — Damien from non-self-inflicted wounds and Myles from medical distress while in RCMP custody.

Burns wouldn’t say which ministers he would meet with, but the discussions are to include the generations of trauma First Nations in Saskatchewan continue to face, including from the residential school system.

He says the community has been dealing with trauma long before the slayings, and he hopes the federal and provincial governments will help them address it.

Burns is also calling for community policing and a rehabilitation centre to help people deal with addictions.

“Others (First Nations) are affected with this (intergenerational) trauma,” Burns said Tuesday, citing the 2016 shootings in La Loche, Sask., where four people were killed and seven others injured.

“I think a lot of this brings us together and we need to look at how do we protect our nation, Canada.”

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