Tag Archives: drugs

Piapot First Nation Youth Lead Alcohol, Drug Ban, Violators to Be Fined

The Piapot First Nation is just northeast of the city of Regina

Youth resolution asking for a ban on alcohol & drugs, accepted and passed

By Red Power Media, Staff | April 27, 2017

A group of youth from Piapot First Nation are taking a stand for a drug- and alcohol-free community.

CTV Regina reports, the band council on the First Nation, about 45 kilometers northeast of Regina, is following the lead of youth from Payepot School.

Thursday morning, the student body and community walked to celebrate and support the resolution of a drug- and alcohol-free community.

According to the Regina Leader-Postmany walkers including the chief and council wore red T-shirts that read, “We choose to live for what we believe in” to support the youths’ initiative.

Jr. Chief Thomas Kaiswatum said he and the members of the junior council wanted to do something to help create a safer environment for the elders and the children in the community.

Earlier this week, Kaiswatum and the other youth presented a resolution to chief and council asking for a ban on drugs and alcohol which was accepted and passed.

Piapot aims to keep drugs, alcohol off reserve

“An open-alcohol fine would be $200, but in order to get a federal prosecutor out here to prosecute that infringement on that bylaw, it could cost upwards of $3,000,” said Piapot First Nation Chief Jeremy Fourhorns.

Kaiswatum said he’s also noticed drunk driving as a problem on the reserve.

Earlier this year, the youth entered a video in SGI’s Save a Life Challenge, which was part of a drinking and driving awareness campaign.

The 16-year-old said the efforts will make the community safer for youth and elders.

The First Nation’s leaders hope to make the walk an annual event.

First Nations Issue Resolutions to Ban Drug Traffickers

Signs promoting living a life free of alcohol and drugs can be seen throughout Esgenoôpetitj First Nation. (Gail Harding/CBC)

Addictions counsellor hopeful Esgenoôpetitj band council will follow Elsipogtog and Tobique

By Gail Harding, CBC News Posted: Apr 16, 2017

As Esgenoôpetitj First Nation mourns and prepares for the funeral service of a suspected overdose victim, an addictions counsellor says they’re remaining vigilant and hopeful there will be no more overdoses.

Leo Bartibogue said there should be help available for people with addicitions, but he would also like to see something done to keep drugs like the pills suspected to have caused 35-year-old Ann Marie Lambert’s death — and four other overdoses — off the reserve.

The drug involved isn’t known yet, though people are concerned it’s fentanyl, a powerful drug that has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths across CanadaNeguac RCMP have asked Health Canada’s toxicology lab for an “urgent” analysis of the drug taken by Lambert.

Ann Marie Lambert of Esgenoôpetitj First Nation died Tuesday night of a suspected overdose. An autopsy resulted in drug samples being sent to Health Canada’s toxicology labs. ((Facebook))

Bartibogue is hoping to see the band council pass a drug-trafficking banishment resolution like councils in Elsipogtog First Nation and Tobique First Nation have.

“I did talk to the chief about it and asked that he make a recommendation. He’s going to address it with the council.”

The band councils’ resolutions were passed two days after the first four overdoses occurred in Esgenoôpetitj. Both communities’ resolutions warn that people trafficking fentanyl and other drugs will be banned.

Tobique’s resolution includes not only banishment from the reserve, but also from community services and benefits.

The band councils say they are taking these steps to protect the health and safety of those living in the community.

Bartibogue said in Esgenoôpetitj so many people are related it may be difficult for some to agree to a similar measure, knowing some people may be expelled.

“Hopefully something can be done to help this situation.” said Bartibogue.

Resolutions welcome

For John Levi of Elsipogtog First Nation, the news the band council is taking action is welcome.

“I’ve been fighting with the band to get rid of the dealers. I’m proud of the chief and council for taking that stand,” he said.

Levi said he’s been confronting people identified to him as dealers, telling them to stop what they are doing.

For him, it’s personal.

“I lost my niece last year to suicide, I knew what the drugs were doing to her,” Levi said of the 23-year-old.

With the resolution, he hopes more people will join his fight and more band councils will pass the same resolution.

“It takes strong a leader to do that. We need more of that,” said Levi.

Meanwhile, Bartibogue is working to get more naloxone kits into the community and more people trained to use them.

Naloxone is administered by a needle or nasal spray to a person who is suspected to have overdosed. It reverses the effect of an opioid overdose.

“I have one myself and we have two or three others,” said Bartibogue. “But we also need people to call us for help if they think someone has overdosed. We are here to help.”


Warrior Chief Plans Roadblocks To Keep Drugs Out Of Elsipogtog

John Levi, an Elsipogtog warrior chief, plans to set up roadblocks in his community to stem the flow of drugs. (Ian Bonnell/CBC)

John Levi, an Elsipogtog warrior chief, plans to set up roadblocks in his community to stem the flow of drugs. (Ian Bonnell/CBC)

Warrior chief John Levi says ‘It’s about time we made a stand and got our community back’ from influx of drugs

CBC News Posted: Apr 28, 2016

Elsipogtog roadblocks planned to keep drugs out of community

John Levi, the warrior chief at Elsipogtog First Nation, is planning to erect roadblocks on the three routes into the Mi’kmaq community in an attempt to curtail what he says is a steady stream of street drugs entering the reserve.

“It’s been many years that we’ve had problems with drugs in our reserve,” said Levi.

“It’s not only Elsipogtog that’s having problems, it’s every community, but after so many years you know we decided we’re going to stand up and get our community back.”

Members of the community name hydromorphone, an opioid pain medication, and crystal methamphetamine, an illegal street drug, as some of the substances being brought in to the community.

‘We are First Nations and we make our own laws.’– John Levi, warrior chief

Levi says people with drug problems are stealing others’ personal property and sometimes sending their kids to bed hungry because any family income is funneled into drugs.

DJ Joseph, Elsiopogtog Nation administrator, says he’s not aware of the plan, but he sees some potential for success.

“I personally would applaud anything that helps deter some of the more negative things that kind of come up in Elsipogtog,” he said.

DJ Joseph

DJ Joseph, the Elsipogtog administrator, said he would support any move to block drugs from coming into the First Nation (CBC)

Joseph grew up in the Mi’kmaq community and is aware of the difficulties some families face.

“Addiction plays a huge part in almost every … aspect of Elsipogtog life,” said Joseph.

“Often times other things fall out of place whenever there’s an addiction in the house.”

There are a number of programs in place on the reserve, including a needle exchange, group therapy, an addiction centre, a crisis unit and family support.

But Joseph explains funding for these programs isn’t easy to come by. He says many programs are started, but without core funding the initiatives don’t always stick.

“I kind of see it as a balance that hasn’t been hit yet,” he said.

Joseph says as a band administrator, he thinks a lot of work has to be done before the plan is put into action, like making sure Levi has proper authorization, and the RCMP is informed.

Roadblocks are illegal

The RCMP won’t confirm it is aware of any plans to erect community road blocks.

Sgt. Benoit Jolette says the RCMP is always open to receiving information from the public, but is not in favour of people taking the law into their own hands, adding roadblocks are illegal.

Levi said he wants the RCMP to be involved, but ultimately he said he only needs permission from the band chief and council.

“Once we get the approval from the chief and council we aren’t breaking any laws, we are First Nations and we make our own laws,” he said.

Levi doesn’t plan to search each car passing by, but does want to keep track who is coming and going in Elsipogtog.

While the RCMP conduct check stops in the community, Levi feels this one will be more effective because no one knows the community like the people who live there.

“We know who is bringing the drugs into the reserve and we’re just going to be standing and waiting for the right people that are bringing in the drugs,” he explained.

Eight people have volunteered to help conduct check stops, and Levi says about 25 elders are on board with the plan.

The CBC spoke to a number of members of the community and none would go on record.

But many said they are in favour of the roadblocks and hope it does slow the flow of drugs entering the community.

Others expressed concern about the loss of personal rights.

Levi said he knows the move is a controversial one but he feels the potential benefits to the First Nation are worth the infringement of personal freedoms.


Indigenous Drumming To The Rescue: A Beat We Might Hear A Lot This Summer


Jackie Traverse, left, with niece Shanastene McLeod (CBC)

By Jillian Taylor | CBC News

Indigenous community using culture to draw women back to their roots and out of trouble.

Too often we are drumming for our women after they are gone. That is what Shanastene McLeod’s mom and auntie said to me while they were going house to house in the North End looking for her.

They’re scared she will end up on the list of missing and murdered indigenous women. Shanastene is 25. Her family says she is addicted to drugs and she bounces between “crack shacks” and doesn’t come home. They’re scared she’s being sexually exploited.

Shanastene McLeod

Up to 100 people at times gathered outside homes where they believed Shanastene McLeod was staying, trying to get her to come out. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

Out of desperation the family did something remarkable. They put a call out to the community to bring their drums and call Shanastene home with traditional music.

I’ve never seen anything like this before. There were close to 100 people gathered outside of a home they thought she was in. Dozens of drums. Women in long skirts. The smell of sage and sweetgrass in the air.

It was ceremonial. Then the singing started. I was standing with Calvin Alexander who helps out with Drag The Red. He had tears in his eyes.

Community strong

It’s about time, he said. “This is the way to do it. Approaching these people, by sticking together. This is safety.”

He was talking about the drug dealers and gangs in the community.

Shanastene McLeod

People walked through Winnipeg’s North End Tuesday night, looking for Shanastene McLeod. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

I asked him how he felt seeing this one of a kind gathering. “Emotional,” he said. “I feel the drums. I feel the pain.”

I had to agree with him. Every drum beat was running through my body. The women kneeling around the big drum were singing the strong woman song. Strength was definitely in the air.

“The community is strong, stronger than these drug dealers,” yelled McLeod’s father David Beauchamp.

He told me he lived that life, but it’s in his past. A past he wants to use to set an example and clean up the neighbourhood. He said he wants a better future for his grandchildren, Shanastene’s kids.

The group was intense. Men stood guard around the women like warriors. Modern day warriors, in their ball caps and hoodies.

As the women sang, the men went to the door. Inside, was a crying woman. They tried to get her to come outside, but she wouldn’t.

Shanastene McLeod

People concerned that Shanastene McLeod, 25, would end up on the list of missing and murdered indigenous women went to three homes before finding her. She came out of the house, but refused to leave it. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

It wasn’t Shanastene.

But she gave another address of where she might be. The group started walking. Drums beating.

Again, they circled another house. Singing, drumming and hoping Shanastene was inside.

No luck. But another lead. On to the third address.

This time we walked about 10 blocks. As the music approached, people emerged from their homes. It was hard to ignore the group chanting ‘No More Stolen Sisters.’

Curious. Proud. That is how I would describe the onlookers. The drum just does something to us indigenous people.
It calms us and gives us strength.

That night everyone was marching to the beat of the same drum.

The community took an issue into their own hands. Their presence was a message to drug dealers, gangs – leave our women alone.

They tried to be peaceful, but yes things got heated.

Two women kicked in the first door. People were yelling at others in the homes, yelling at police.

Shanastene Jackie

Jackie Traverse, left, tries to persuade Shanastene McLeod to leave the place where she’s been staying, for her own sake. McLeod told them she was staying. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

Frustration bubbled over. I guess that’s what happens when there are 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.

This community has clearly hit their breaking point.

Sending a message

You know what, their strategy worked. Shanastene was in the neighbourhood and she came outside.

Jackie Traverse wrapped her arms around her and scolded her in a loving auntie kind of way. She told her she was loved and she had to check in with her family more often.

Shanastene was crying. Resistant at first. But eventually smiled. Jackie tried her best to get her to come home, but she wouldn’t. So she grabbed my notepad and wrote down her number for her niece. I asked her what she thought of everyone there. She said it was nice, but didn’t look impressed. Then had a smoke with her family.

It was almost the outcome they wanted. Bittersweet. She came to them. But she didn’t leave with them.

The whole point of the night was to send a message to any woman or girl, in any one of those homes, who may be sexually exploited, addicted, or worse – that the community cares. People are there for them.

I saw a community sick of violence, sick of addiction, sick of losing its women. I also saw a new spirit, a new attitude, and a lot of new faces in the crowd.

This may not solve problems, but maybe it will save someone.

I think what it will do, is unite a community who no longer wants to be seen as broken.