More than a hundred Whitefish Bay members have signed a petition. It calls for action against bootleggers and drug dealers in their community.
The big white sign at the entrance to the first nation said trafficking and bootlegging was ruining the lives of the community’s children. Darrell Mandamin explains how the illegal activity is having an impact on his nieces, nephews and grandchildren
“I want them to have a fighting chance that they can have a good future,” he said. “If we have these drug dealers and bootleggers living in our community and ruining our children, then I need to do something. I’m sure there’s plenty of other people in other communities, who want to do something, but they just don’t have the voice to do it.”
By early afternoon, Mandamin has 115 names on the petition. He’s hoping to present it to chief and council, so they can work with neighbouring communities to curb illegal activity in the area.
During the protest, Mandamin described what he’s seeing in the community among the youth.
“What they steal from the elders homes, they bring it to the bootleggers and the drug dealers, and they exchange it for drugs and alcohol,” he said. “We’re doing a petition today, and the response has been fantastic.”
Mandamin also talked about next steps for the petition.
“We’ll be bringing that petition to the Naotkamegwanning chief and council. What we’re asking is that the discussion start between chief and council and the community members,” he added.
In response to the petition, Whitefish Chief Howard Kabestra noted there was a general band meeting tonight.
“We’re dealing with drug dealers and bootleggers with the help of addiction services and service providers, like Treaty 3 Police Service. We’re bringing awareness to the issue through our annual walk, and we’re letting offenders know there’s zero tolerance,” he said.
For more information:
First Nation Profile – Naotkamegwanning