‘We can live together, we can be side by side, we can grow.”
These were some words shared today at a unity walk which took place today, Feb. 12, from the Flying Dust First Nation band office into the City of Meadow Lake. After Gerald Stanley’s acquittal in his second-degree murder trial for the shooting death of 22-year-old Cree man Colten Boushie, a number of communities across the province and country are hosting rallies to share a message of peace.
Flying Dust First Nation Chief Jeremy Norman and several community members started organizing the event over the weekend. Nearly 300 people showed up to show support from the City and Rural Municipality of Meadow Lake, Flying Dust, Green Lake, Waterhen Lake First Nation, the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN-S), and many places in between. Leaders from these communities shared words with the crowd.
“We wanted to organize something is to show our community, to show Saskatchewan, and to show Canada it’s not conquer and divide. It’s not us against them,” Norman said. “We’re so much stronger when work together. As a community, when you’re hurting, other people step in and help you along, and that’s what I see, and that’s the reason for this walk, to show we are united and we are one.”
In his address, Meadow Lake mayor Gary Vidal acknowledged the hurt and pain many Indigenous people are currently feeling throughout the region, province, and country.
“I don’t want to pretend or claim to understand because I don’t,” he said. “But I do want to acknowledge and want to confirm that we support you as good neighbours and good friends. As a community, we have the ability to build on the relationship we’ve established over many years, to rise above the things that might divide us. I truly appreciate Chief Jeremy’s leadership and his sincere desire for a better unified community.”
Green Lake Mayor Ric Richardson said emotions were high throughout the trial and especially since the verdict, but acknowledged the overall message of peace which seems to be emanating from community leadership.
“As we find problems we have a responsibility to do what we can,” he said. “Just as you are now coming out to show your concern, but we must realize we have to do this in a good way for the betterment of all people in the country.”
Loretta King from MN-S said she was pleased with the turnout, and said through education and partnerships, the community can move forward.
“The way that we decide to teach our children is going to be the most honest and humble thing that we can do for our nations,” she said
Dustin Fiddler, a councillor from Waterhen said there is much shock and mourning occurring, but echoed the overall message of unity.
“Undoubtedly we are all here today because we feel a sorrow,” he said. “Our reason for being here is so that we can continue on for the next generation. As we move forward, remember that we all stood together and we all wanted one thing: To do better and to persevere.”
On Twitter @ReporterKath
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