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Standing Buffalo First Nation Considers Liquor Ban After Fatal Shooting

01/05/2016 03:51 EST | Updated 01/05/2016 03:59 EST
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FORT QU'APPELLE, Sask. — The chief of a Saskatchewan First Nation says the involvement of alcohol in a New Year's Day homicide has sparked a conversation about making the reserve liquor-free.

RCMP say alcohol played a role in last Friday's death of Mario Kaiswatum at a home on the Standing Buffalo First Nation.

They say the 28-year-old man was shot at a party in front of several witnesses.

Currently, the consumption of alcohol is not allowed in most multi-family housing units on the reserve.

Time for an outright ban?

Chief Roger Redman says introducing an outright liquor ban and creating a dry reserve would involve consultation and review, and would have to have the support of the community.

Maurice Maple, a 55-year-old reserve resident, is charged with first-degree murder and will make his next court appearance on Jan. 18.

Redman said it's a sad time for the small community, as crisis counsellors and elders work to provide psychological and cultural support to the alleged victim's relatives, the accused and the witnesses.

"We're trying to provide as much support as we can to help all the people involved.''

He also said the band council's justice committee is getting input from the RCMP, elders and band members on how best to deal with violence, which includes consideration of a complete alcohol ban.

"We're trying to provide as much support as we can to help all the people involved.''

But the chief also said reserve members would be asked to vote on any potential prohibition.

"We also want to make sure we are not infringing on someone's human rights, getting a legal analysis on that, making sure we are doing it right.''

He noted that Standing Buffalo has also taken steps to address other areas of crime, including evicting residents suspected of drug and gang activity on the reserve.

In 2012 there was a double murder on Standing Buffalo. Three people, including a teenage boy, were convicted of stabbing and bludgeoning a common-law couple to death.

The First Nation is in the Qu'Appelle Valley, about 70 kilometres northeast of Regina. (CJME, CJLR)

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