By Red Power Media, Staff | Posted: Aug 8/16, Updated Aug 9/16
After a vehicle rollover outside a Manitoba reserve took the lives of two teenage girls and left three other teens seriously injured, a group of indigenous men and youth from the urban warrior alliance in Winnipeg traveled to the community to pay their respects.
The warriors arrived at Bloodvein First Nation on Thursday with drums and flags in hand to show their support and met with members of the community including relatives and youth affected by the tragedy.
During their visit to the reserve, —flooded by addiction problems and poverty— the men spoke with youth; some about their own personal experiences with addiction and to let them know there is hope.
“I think the youth have turned to alcohol and drugs because they’re missing something in their lives, it’s our culture that’s missing, the ceremonies and their connection to the land. It would give the children purpose and hope again” said Vin Clarke, a peacekeeper for the warrior alliance and former addictions worker.
While inadequate policing may be a contributing factor, Bloodvein is a dry reserve where youth can easily obtain alcohol from bootleggers.
The group also took time to put smiles on the faces of kids from the community as they gathered at the arena to play games and sports with them.
Many of the kids experienced their own culture for the first time, through traditional teachings, drums and singing with members of the warrior alliance.
Media reports indicated that on July 30th, nine youth —eight girls and one boy— were riding in both the cab and the box of a truck that lost control and rolled three times. Alcohol and speed are considered factors in the accident.
Blossom Scott, 13, and Abwii Kennedy, 14, died in the crash.
Bloodvein, a community of about 1,000 people, was reportedly in shock following the deaths.
Local RCMP are reporting that the vehicle had been taken without the consent of its owner and an investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Community members and relatives told Red Power Media that there’s a lot of anger and questions about why teens riding around in a stolen vehicle couldn’t have been stopped earlier by the RCMP?
All nine kids involved in the rollover were under the age of 16.
Bloodvein First Nation is located about 210 kilometres north of Winnipeg.