James Smith Cree Nation Remembers Tragic Incident, Highlights Communal Resilience and Progress


One year on, the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan solemnly remembers a perilous incident that led to the tragic loss of 11 lives and left a staggering 17 people wounded. This dreadful episode of violence, marked by a string of mass stabbings, was followed by a relentless, four-day manhunt that culminated in the arrest of a suspect, Myles Sanderson, who subsequently died in police custody. Throughout the search, Sanderson seamlessly eluded police, swiftly moving on foot and liberating vehicles to facilitate his escape. The RCMP issued an array of emergency alerts to publicize Sanderson’s likely hideouts.

Yet, amidst this troubling remembrance, it is not just a day of mourning, but also a moment for reflection and unity. A private memorial service will be conducted on Monday, supported by an evening candlelit vigil. Commendations for the community’s resilience have been extended by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), spotlighting the James Smith Cree Nation’s commendable fortitude throughout these traumatic 12 months. Expressing profound empathy, FSIN fourth vice chief Heather Bear observed that the upcoming anniversary marks a distressful chapter in a narrative of healing and progress.

Reflecting on the harrowing incident, it is worth noting that, unfortunately, the police’s arrival at the scene took almost 40 tortuous minutes post the initial 911 call on September 4, 2022. In response to this incident and to bolster communal security, the James Smith Cree Nation has authorized 28 full-time security officers, equipping them with comprehensive training in mental health support. This newly formed security cohort maintains strong ties with the nearest RCMP detachment, a mere 40 kilometers away, forging collaborations to improve emergency response times.

As the sober anniversary draws near, the Saskatchewan RCMP’s commanding officer issued a heartfelt statement, hailing the remarkable efforts of more than 500 personnel from nearly every RCMP Division across the country, 369 of which were from Saskatchewan alone. Their concerted operation, spanning from B.C. to the Northwest Territories to New Brunswick, played a crucial role in handling the initial post-incident police response. Expressing his deep gratitude, the commanding officer emphasized the unwavering dedication of the employees.


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