Man Shot and Killed by RCMP during ‘Standoff’ on Frog Lake First Nation

ASIRT investigating rcmp shooting at Frog Lake reserve 

A man is dead after he was shot by RCMP during a ‘standoff’ at the Frog Lake First Nation reserve in Alberta.

According to media reports Elk Point RCMP attempted to arrest a man at a family member’s home on the reserve around 10 a.m., Thursday. A standoff followed that lasted for several hours despite attempts to establish contact by an RCMP negotiator. Late in the evening a confrontation occurred which resulted in officers discharging their firearms. The man was struck by gunfire and fatally wounded.

Investigators recovered a sawed-off firearm at the scene. No officers were injured and police said there was no concern for public safety.

The RCMP remains the lead investigating agency on the events leading up to the shooting. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been directed to investigate the circumstances around the death of the man and police conduct.

The RCMP would not comment further on the incident.

Frog Lake First Nation is located about 207 kilometres east of Edmonton.

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Red Fawn Fallis Sentenced to 57 months in Federal prison

Red Fawn Fallis

Red Fawn Fallis has been sentenced for her role in a shooting incident during the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

According to media reports, Fallis, 39, was sentenced Wednesday to four years and nine months in federal prison.

Fallis, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, was accused of firing a handgun three times while resisting arrest on Oct. 27, 2016. No one was hurt.

She pleaded guilty Jan. 22 to civil disorder and illegal possession of a gun by a convicted felon. Prosecutors agreed to drop another weapons charge.

Prosecutors were recommending seven years in prison, though U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland could have gone as high as 15 years.

Fallis did not get credit for time served in a halfway house after she was arrested in January for violating her pretrial release agreement. Judge Hovland says he is recommending placement in Phoenix or Tucson, Ariz.

Fallis is also sentenced to three years of supervised probation after her release; including special conditions of drug and alcohol treatment and treatment for mental health issues.

The sentence can be appealed within 14 days of the judgement being signed.

Fallis’s arrest was one of 761 that authorities made during the height of the Dakota Access pipeline protests near Standing Rock, North Dakota in 2016 and 2017.

Saint-Charles man accused in Brady Francis’s death to enter plea in August

Brady Francis’s mom, Jessica Perley (left) and sister Sara Perley-Francis, attended Maurice Johnson’s first court appearance in Moncton Provincial Court on Tuesday. They’re hoping to get closure from Francis’s death. (Radio-Canada)

Plea postponed for Saint-Charles man accused in Brady Francis’s death

A 56-year-old Saint-Charles man charged after the hit-and-run death of Brady Francis will now enter a plea in late August.

Maurice Johnson, who is charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident, was scheduled to make his first court appearance on Tuesday, but he was not present when the case was called in Moncton provincial court.

His lawyer, Gilles Lemieux, appeared on his behalf, and a new plea date was set for Aug. 21.

Johnson was issued a summons in late June, 115 days after the 22-year-old Francis, of Elsipogtog First Nation, was killed.

Family members said they would be back again in court on Aug. 21 to see the case through and to get closure.

“I just hope and wish that he just pleads guilty and just ends it,” Francis’s mother, Jessica Perley, said. “It’s gone on way too long.”

Francis was found dead by the side of the road in Saint-Charles, about 12 kilometres north of the reserve and about 100 kilometres north of Moncton.

It’s believed he was waiting for a ride home Feb. 24, when he was struck on Saint-Charles South Road.

“He was amazing, he was everything,” said Francis’s younger sister, Sara Perley-Francis.

Brady Francis was 22 when he was struck and killed Feb. 24 by a driver who left the scene. (Facebook photo)

Following Francis’s death, rallies and vigils were organized across the province, and people pleaded for the driver to come forward and confess.

Family members said they were overwhelmed by the support from their community and the number of people who showed up at the Moncton courthouse on Tuesday.

‘He didn’t deserve this’

“I really hope Brady’s family gets the justice they deserve,” said Keora Doucette, a friend of Francis.

“As we all know the justice system has failed us many times before, but I’m very positive there will be a really good outcome out of this, not just for the community but for Brady as well, because he didn’t deserve this.”

Keora Doucette was a friend of Brady Francis and said the justice system needs to do more for the Indigenous community. (Radio-Canada)

Doucette was referring to the Tina Fontaine case in Winnipeg. She was just 15 when her body was found in Winnipeg’s Red River, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks in August 2014.

There was also Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old who was shot on a rural Saskatchewan farmyard in August 2016.

“I pray to God that justice system will understand we have rights too,” Doucette said. “Our people are dying and nothing’s been done.”

4-month investigation

News of the charge was met with feelings of relief and vindication in the Elsipogtog community after a four-month investigation produced its first charge.

“With any investigation, it takes the time it takes to conduct a proper investigation,” Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh, media relations officer with the New Brunswick RCMP, said in an interview with CBC News after the charge was laid.

A sign at CC’s Entertainment Centre, where Francis worked, counted the days without a charge being laid after he was killed. (CBC)

“In this particular case, it was an exhaustive investigation. Our investigators spoke with several people and they reviewed quite a bit of evidence, and we believe the evidence gathered warrants the charge that [was] laid.”

Source: CBC News

Indigenous Mexicans spurn Presidential vote with blockades, bulldozers

Members of the Supreme Indigenous Council block the entry to their community to avoid the installation of polling stations for Mexico’s general election in the indigenous Purepecha town of Zirahuen. Reuters

NAHUATZEN, Mexico – Mexican voters will stream to the polls this Sunday in a pivotal presidential contest, but leaders representing tens of thousands of indigenous people have vowed to block voting in their communities to protest a system they say has failed them.

Polls say Mexico is on the verge of electing its first leftist anti-establishment president in modern history, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. But the prospect of change has failed to resonate with inhabitants of small towns nestled in the lush, wooded countryside of southwestern Michoacan state.

Residents here have destroyed campaign signs and set up blockades to prevent the government from delivering ballots. Election officials have declared 16 towns here “unviable,” and will not likely risk confrontation to force polling stations to open.

Among the no-go zones is the impoverished hamlet of Nahuatzen, where Purepecha indigenous locals grow avocados and eke out a living on tiny plots. On Thursday, several dozen men, some in cowboy hats, stood vigil near the town’s entrance. They had laid a tree trunk across the road to stop outsiders from entering.

“The politicians haven’t done anything besides enrich themselves and they’ve left us behind,” said Antonio Arriola, a member of a recently-created indigenous council that has petitioned the Mexican government for autonomy.

After word spread on Friday that local party bosses may try to deliver ballots in their personal cars, indigenous leaders said they would use bulldozers to dig a trench in the main road to strengthen their blockade, a tactic already employed in a nearby town.

Arriola and other local leaders grudgingly acknowledged some common ground with Lopez Obrador, the 64-year-old former Mexico City mayor who got his start in politics decades ago advocating for indigenous rights.

But Arriola said the Purepecha have learned the hard way not to pin their hopes on promises coming from politicians, even ones that purport to have their best interests in mind.

“Our roads, schools and health care have been in the gutter for more than 40 years,” he said.

Nahuatzen is part of a growing movement among Mexico’s indigenous communities, who are seeking self-rule and turning their backs on mainstream elections.

Dissent in Michoacan ignited seven years ago, ahead of the 2012 presidential election, when just one jurisdiction, the municipality of Cheran, opted out of voting. This year, the boycott spread to six additional municipalities affecting dozens of polling stations across the 16 towns, home to at least 50,000 voters.

Agitation has likewise spread to traditional Maya communities in the southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Guerrero.

Indigenous leaders in at least six towns and small cities in those states are also pledging to block balloting on Sunday. That could impact tens of thousands more voters.

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Residents block the access to their community to avoid the installation of polling stations for Mexico’s general election in the indigenous Purepecha town of Nahuatzen. Reuters

Electoral authorities may set up polling stations outside towns that have rejected them, allowing those who want to vote to do so, said Erika Barcenas, a lawyer based in Morelia, Michoacan’s capital, who advises communities that want more autonomy.

“But I think the view of the majority is a more global rejection, a rejection of political parties and of the kind of democracy we have right now,” she said.

The growing complaints of indigenous Mexicans appear to track a broader restlessness in the country, where widespread political corruption, drug violence and entrenched poverty have fueled discontent.

Support for democracy among Mexicans plummeted from slightly more than 70 percent in 2004 to just under half last year, according to data from the Latin America Public Opinion Project.

Never conquered

Resistance to far-away masters goes back centuries for the Purepecha of Michoacan. Known for their fierce independence and closely guarded metal-smelting skills before the Spanish conquest of 1521, they were one of the few kingdoms in central Mexico that Aztec armies never subdued, despite repeated attempts.

On a federal highway near the town of Zirahuen, about 22 miles (35 km) southeast of Nahuatzen, several hundred locals set up another blockade with a big yellow truck, cutting off transit in both directions.

Many in the crowd said they were determined to repel any attempt by election authorities to deliver ballots or set up polling stations.

As of Friday evening, authorities had made no such efforts.

Young indigenous men in baseball caps walked down long lines of idled vehicles, telling drivers if they wanted to pass they must remove any visible campaign advertising. In a couple of instances they peeled political party stickers from windshields.

But the cradle of Michoacan’s movement is Cheran, home to 18,000 mostly Purepecha residents. The municipality proudly displays it indigenous heritage on its police vehicles, where the town’s name is written in the indigenous language, rather than Spanish.

Anger over widespread illegal logging believed to be organized by drug gangs sparked the unrest in Cheran. Outraged residents expelled their mayor and the local police force, whom they accused of being complicit. In 2012, citizens began to set up a new governing council based on indigenous customs.

During mid-term elections in 2015, 11 polling stations in four more municipalities joined Cheran in blocking balloting.

Pedro Chavez, president of Cheran’s indigenous governing council, said he is pleased that the movement has expanded yet again during this presidential election year.

“We can be an inspiration for free self-determination and a lesson about the rights of native peoples,” said Chavez, speaking outside his nearly-completed traditional wood-plank home.

The rights of Mexico’s indigenous poor last commanded the nation’s attention just after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994 and the Zapatista National Liberation Army issued a “declaration of war” against the government.

A 12-day battle ensued, claiming at least 140 lives.

“Free determination (for indigenous communities) is something that’s now being discussed for the first time since the Zapatista revolt,” said Barcenas, the attorney.

Some election officials say a solution to rising resistance among indigenous communities lies in more local control over public finance.

“We think the crux of their struggle is the push for direct funding to address the marginalization these communities face,” said David Delgado, the national electoral institute’s delegate for Michoacan.

Marco Banos, an official with the national electoral institute, said Mexico needs to find ways to fuse indigenous customs with the country’s existing election laws in communities where resistance to voting is playing out.

Still, he said resistance to voting is not as widespread as activists assert.

But, in Arantepacua, another restive Michoacan community which is boycotting the election, Dionisio Lopez said he is finished casting ballots.

“It’s all one big mafia. We having nothing but pure corruption here in Mexico and it’s proven,” he said. “Why pretend otherwise?”

By Reuters

[SOURCE]

Hamilton-area homeowner found not guilty in shooting death of Six Nations man

Peter Khill, left, faced second-degree murder charges in the killing of Jon Styres, right, during a break-in.

Former reservist in Canadian army acquitted in shooting death of indigenous man 

A jury has found Peter Khill, not guilty in the shooting death of Jon Styres, a indigenous man, he believed was trying to steal his truck.

Khill, 28, admitted he shot Styres, but pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, saying he fired in self-defence when he thought Styres was pointing a gun at him.

Styres died from two close-range shotgun blasts in the driveway of Khill’s home near Hamilton Ont., on Feb. 4, 2016.

The trial heard that Styres, a 29-year-old father of two from Ohsweken, on the Six Nations reserve, did not have a gun at the time of the shooting.

According to the Globe and Mail, Khill sighed with relief as the verdict was read out Wednesday morning after less than a day of deliberations.

Across the courtroom, family and friends of the victim, shook their heads. Lindsay Hill, the mother of his children, wearing a Justice For Jon t-shirt, collapsed in tears and had to be carried out of the courtroom. Others cursed openly.

The London Press reports, Khill is a former reservist in the Canadian army. He served four years part-time in a stint that ended in 2011.

At trial the Crown argued that Styres did not pose a reasonable threat to Khill and his girlfriend while they were inside their locked home, and that Khill should have called 911 and waited for police rather than run out of the house with a loaded shotgun.

Peter Khill, charged with second-degree murder, leaves court in Hamilton, June 12, 2018

Khill told a 911 operator that night that Styres had turned toward him with his hands sweeping up to “gun-height.”

But experts testified that the angle of the shots showed it was their opinion Styres was facing into the truck when he was hit in the chest and shoulder.

According to The Canadian Press, after the verdict, defence lawyer Jeffrey Manishen told reporters he thought Khill’s military service was a central point of the trial, and was significant to determining whether Khill had acted reasonably to defend himself under the circumstances.

Manishen told the jury that race played no part in this case, as Khill could not possibly have known Styres was Indigenous given how dark it was at the time of the shooting and how quickly events unfolded.

He also noted after the verdict that potential jurors had been asked if they could be impartial given Khill and Styres’ races — a measure he said put him at ease about the issue of bias.

The Six Nations Elected Council released a statement Wednesday, expressing “shock and disappointment” at the not guilty verdict.

The council also called on the Ministry of the Attorney General to appeal the verdict.

Styres family said they would not comment or answer questions about the trial or its outcome.

The case garnered attention for similarities to a Saskatchewan case, in which white farmer Gerald Stanley was acquitted in February in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, from the Red Pheasant First Nation.

FSIN outraged by Sask government, police handling of protest camp outside legislature

On Monday, police arrested six people from the teepee near the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina.

On Monday, police arrested six people from the teepee near the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) says it is outraged by how the Saskatchewan government and police handled protests outside the provincial legislature.

Six people from the Justice for our Stolen Children camp were arrested on Monday as a teepee was removed from the site.

The camp was set up at the end of February shortly after the acquittals of Gerald Stanley in the fatal shooting of Colten Boushie and Raymond Cormier in the death of Manitoba teen Tina Fontaine. Both victims were Indigenous.

It protested racial injustice and the disproportionate number of Indigenous children in government care.

“The current child-welfare system is failing and contributing to many of the social problems our children are forced to endure,” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said in a statement Tuesday.

“We call for respect and peace to rectify the provincial child-welfare system that is failing.”

Cameron said Indigenous communities know what’s best for their children and how to help them succeed in life.

The province had served notice that the camp would be shut down. Authorities evicted most people on Friday and those remaining were supposed to leave the site by noon Sunday.

Justice Minister Don Morgan said he didn’t want the removal of the camp to be a setback in the government’s relationship with First Nations.

Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, said the fight continues.

“We’re going to keep setting up our camps. We’re going to keep lighting our fires. We will not stop,” Baptiste said Monday.

“I’m not going to stop until change is made in the courtrooms, in the government.”

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

RCMP charge man in connection with hit and run death of Brady Francis

Brady Francis, of Elsipogtog First Nation, is shown in this undated handout image. CP/Garnett Augustine

A 56-year-old man is facing charges in connection with the hit-and-run death of Brady Francis from Elsipogtog First Nation.

According to media reports Maurice Johnson of Saint-Charles, N.B., has been charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily harm or death.

Francis a well-liked 22-year-old was hit by a pickup truck on Feb. 24 as he departed a party in Saint-Charles, N.B., a predominantly francophone town about 12 kilometres south of the Elsipogtog reserve.

RCMP say it’s believed the Mi’kmaq youth was waiting for a drive home when he was struck.

Johnson is scheduled to appear in Moncton Provincial Court on July 10, 2018 to enter a plea.

Following Francis’s death, rallies and vigils were organized across the province, and people pleaded for the driver who hit Brady to come forward and confess.

Social media posts were circulating following the incident with pictures of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent Prairie verdicts.

Earlier this year, RCMP completed an investigation into the hit-and-run and handed the file over to Crown prosecutors to review possible charges.

This is the first charge laid in the case — four months after Francis was struck.

The news was welcomed with relief in the community.

“We’re extremely happy,” said Ruth Levi, a band councillor and director of social services at the Elsipogtog reserve.

Police say Johnson is the same person that was arrested and released without charges back in March. It was also his truck that was seized as part of the RCMP investigation.

Supporters ask President Trump to pardon Leonard Peltier 

Leonard Peltier

A representative for jailed American Indian activist Leonard Peltier says he considers President Donald Trump “a wild card” who might be willing to look into setting him free.

Peltier, 73, was convicted for the murders of two FBI agents during a 1975 shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

KFGO News reports, an attorney has filed a formal request asking President Trump to grant a pardon or commute Peltier’s life sentence.

A letter written to the President by Peltier’s attorney David Frankel says for decades Peltier “has been subjected to a vicious campaign of fake news by the FBI.”

The letter also says Peltier is in poor health and wants to go home to the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

Last year, former President Barack Obama denied a clemency request for Peltier.

Sheridan Murphy is with the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. “All that would necessarily be needed is for the President to see that there was misconduct that’s been admitted” Murphy said.

Murphy says “the pardon request is “certainly worth the effort” because he considers Trump a “wild card.” “You have no idea where he’s going to go.”

The White House isn’t commenting.

SOURCE: KFGO News

Embattled MMIW inquiry asked for Two-year extension, gets Six more months

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, speaks as she is joined by Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, left, and Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, during a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — The commissioners of Canada’s national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls say the government’s decision to extend their work by only six months does a “disservice” to victims, survivors and families.

Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, announced Tuesday that the inquiry — which had requested an extension of two full years — is getting only six more months to complete its hearings and until April 30, 2019, to submit a final report.

“In seeking a two-year extension, we were striking a balance between the urgency of the issues and the need to do this work thoroughly,” chief commissioner Marion Buller said in a statement.

“Now, we believe political expediency has been placed before the safety of Indigenous women, girls and (LGBTQ and two-spirit) people.”

The commission, which has been plagued by chronic delays, staff turnover and complaints from families about disorganization, poor communication and a lack of transparency, was originally supposed to have its final report ready by Nov. 1 of this year.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada warned last month that the ongoing challenges were obscuring the needs of victims and survivors, with the unanswered question of a deadline extension adding to the uncertainty.

Bennett said the decision to extend the mandate by just six months was made in part because provinces and territories were not unanimously supportive of extending the terms of reference for the inquiry into next year.

“In the conversation with provinces and territories it was clear … that we weren’t going to get an extension of the terms of reference from some of them,” Bennett told a news conference.

She called the extension a “creative solution” that allows the terms of reference to be honoured in all of the provinces and the territories, meaning the commission will have to complete its research and witness testimony by Dec. 31.

At least one commissioner served notice Tuesday that she would reconsider her role with the inquiry as a result of the government’s decision.

“I am currently filled with a sentiment of incomprehension and deep disappointment,” Michele Audette said in a statement in French.

“I am giving myself the next few weeks to reflect, to analyze the decision, give my personal opinion and validate my future participation in the work of the national inquiry.”

Bennett would not say which provinces rejected the request to extend the terms of reference, but did indicate there was more than one.

Tuesday’s decision also follows consultations with survivors, families, Indigenous organizations and provinces and territories.

“We found support for giving the inquiry more time to submit its final report, but little support for the commission’s mandate to extend beyond the next election,” Bennett said. There are more survivors and families who want to take part, she added.

“The commissioners will decide how to use this additional time to hear from the remaining families and survivors, further examine institutional practices and policies and undertake the research necessary inform their recommendations on the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada.”

After submitting the final report, the commission will have until June 30 of next year to wind down its operations.

A paper bag used to collect the tears of those testifying, to then be burned in a sacred fire, is seen at the final day of hearings at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday April 8, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Department officials say they will work with the inquiry to determine the budget. The Liberal government had initially earmarked $53.8 million and two years for the inquiry to complete its work.

In March, inquiry officials asked for a two-year extension in order to give commissioners until Dec. 31, 2020, to make recommendations and produce findings.

The inquiry’s interim report, released in November, called for an investigative body to re-open existing cold cases and for an expansion of an existing support program for those who testify.

The government says it will spend $9.6 million over five years to support the RCMP’s new National Investigative Standards and Practices Unit, and will fund a review of police policies and practices regarding their relations with Indigenous Peoples.

An additional $21.3 million will be provided to expand health support provided by the inquiry.

“Together with Indigenous peoples and partners across the country, we continue our collective efforts to help prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls, and protect future generations,” Bennett said.

Source: www.ctvnews.ca

‘They’re back:’ Drug dealers target southern Alberta reserve when payments arrive

A billboard at the east end of the Blood Reserve in southern Alberta, shown on April 27, 2018, warns about the dangers of fentanyl. Fentanyl addiction has led to several deaths and overdoses. CP/Bill Graveland

STANDOFF, Alta. — A life-and-death battle against drug dealers is being waged on the sprawling Blood reserve in southwestern Alberta, as officials struggle to keep deadly opioids away from its most vulnerable residents.

Canada’s largest reserve has been on the front lines of a fentanyl epidemic, which has plagued many parts of the country over the past four years.

Fentanyl, an opioid up to 100 times more powerful than heroin, is used as a painkiller for terminal cancer patients. But on the streets, the drug — also known as “beans” — emerged as an OxyContin replacement after that drug’s formula was changed.

Sixteen overdose deaths in the first three months of 2015 prompted the Blood band, which has about 10,000 members, to declare a state of emergency.

A second state of emergency was called after a rash of overdoses at the end of February when a batch of carfentil, described as 100 times more toxic than fentanyl, hit the community.

“We were ill-prepared for it. EMS and the police had horrendous calls,” said Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, who was born and raised on the reserve.

“They’d come to a house and there would be five people who had overdosed and they were unresponsive and not breathing. In that weekend, we had 14 overdoses and luckily no one died.”

There were another 50 overdoses in Lethbridge that weekend.

“We haven’t seen another night like that,” Tailfeathers said. “But I’m sure it’s not the last night we’re going to see something like that.”

Tailfeathers said progress has been made with the introduction of naloxone and Suboxone, a non-addictive medication used to treat opioid addiction.

But drugs are still making their way onto the reserve and, she said, dealers seem to know exactly when to strike.

“There are certain days when we’re going to see more overdoses, more violence related to drug dealing and more suicide attempts,” she said.

“Those are always related to a payment in the community — a day after welfare comes out or a day after child tax benefits, even (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) and Canada Pension.”

Blood Tribe Police Chief Kyle Melting Tallow said several dealers have been banished, only to set up shop in communities on the edge of the reserve. He said they find drug mules, usually addicted band members, to carry fentanyl onto the First Nation and sell it when cash is available.

“They know when the money is in the community, so that’s when we see the trafficking go up in frequency.”

Addictions have been a problem for the Blood Tribe for generations.

“We do have a lot of addicted people. We do have a lot of people who are in vulnerable situations and some of them don’t know how to deal with certain things,” said Melting Tallow. “We have dealers who come in from outside the community and take advantage of that.”

The CEO of the Blood Tribe Department of Health said additional community health staff, a harm reduction nurse and a crisis prevention team have been added.

But despite increased awareness, some people are still getting “tricked” by whatever they’re buying, said Kevin Cowan.

“If it’s not fentanyl, it’s going to be something else. The drug addiction, the alcoholism, it all continues to happen,” said Cowan.

“We’re just saving lives now because of naloxone. Whereas two or three years ago, it wouldn’t have been 50 plus overdoses. It would have been 50 plus deaths.”

Rick Tailfeathers, a spokesman for the Blood Tribe, said the band is looking at mixing up the timing of payments to members so they don’t all happen on the same day.

“We’ve lost a lot of people through overdose fatalities. It was OK after 2015 — things improved and the overdoses were way down. But they’re back.”

He said the current addictions are more deadly than those in the past.

“There was alcoholism that was rampant in the ’60s. But today you hear almost daily about overdoses and it’s fatal. That didn’t happen until just recently — I would say in the last four years,” Rick Tailfeathers said.

“I don’t see any end in sight as long the addiction is there. Fentanyl is highly addictive and most drug users are going to try and find it. It’s the big guys, the dealers, that need to be caught.”

[SOURCE]