The Sandy Bay First Nation is determined to tackle the community's drug problem in the wake of a horrific killing last month, Chief Irvin McIvor says.
Roberta McIvor, 32, was found decapitated July 30. Two local girls, 15 and 17, face manslaughter charges.
Chief McIvor, a cousin of the deceased woman's mother, said the Lake Manitoba community was shocked into action. Young and old alike want a strict drug bylaw.
Community leaders are working on a comprehensive bylaw, which will include drug testing for band employees and penalties for drug dealers, including expulsion. It could go to a referendum in the spring.
It will be modelled on the Fisher River First Nation bylaw. That community has kicked out eight drug dealers in the past few years, fired two staff members and provided lots of drug treatment.
McIvor expects cleaning up his community will be harder because Sandy Bay is twice the size of Fisher River, but is determined.
"It's the fight of our lives," because drugs are destroying the community. "You're talking about people who have been using drugs for years and years on a daily basis," he said.
"There's crime associated with it, there's violence associated with it, there's social issues. You're stealing from family and relatives to fuel your dependency. Those are the type of things that are compounding our concerns."
Until the bylaw referendum, the community will be offered education sessions.
The police investigation into Roberta McIvor's death showed that early on the morning of July 30, her vehicle was stolen from a yard in Sandy Bay while she was sleeping in it. McIvor was removed from the vehicle and fatally injured when the vehicle was driven away.
Sandy Bay is about 190 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.