The young Aboriginal man shot and killed on a property in rural Saskatchewan on Aug. 9 is being described as a "man of the community" who wanted to be a firefighter.
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The family of Colten Boushie tells CBC News that despite a physical disability with his hands, Boushie had just completed a firefighting and life skills community program on the Red Pheasant First Nation, where Boushie was living.
Boushie, 22, was shot near Biggar, Sask., after a verbal confrontation with people associated to the private property.
Gerald Stanley, 54, has now been charged with second-degree murder. Stanley pleaded not guilty to the charge during his second court appearance at North Battleford's provincial court. He was granted bail last Friday.
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According to RCMP, five people were in a vehicle that entered a farmyard in the Rural Municipality of Glenside. The owners of the property did not know the people in the vehicle. A verbal exchange happened and a shot was fired, striking Boushie. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family of Boushie said they experienced a problem with a tire on the way home and that's why they were on the farm.
Family members remember 'man of the community'
Boushie is being described as a "cultural young man" who was an active participant in the Native American Church.
His family says he believed "strongly" in the power of prayer and loved to sing. Family members said you could often hear Boushie walking around the First Nation singing peyote songs to himself.
At Boushie's funeral, his mother. Debbie Baptiste, said it wasn't long ago that her son was one of the men in the community helping with other people's funerals.
"We have our traditional ways out here, how we do things around here. And one of the things [is] when we're burying somebody, a fire is lit and somebody has to watch it all night until morning," Baptiste explained.
"So my sons would do that," she said. "They'd sit out at that fire and they didn't even know the person who was laying in there who they were burying, but they wanted to help and that's how they'd help out."
This time the fire was lit for her son, who Baptiste said was a well-educated and caring young man.
"He was really a good guy who they took away from us so suddenly and he can't be replaced. And I'm going to miss him so much."
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Boushie's family says one of his biggest mentors was his late "mosom/pupa" Victor Denny, who Boushie called "his partner."
Boushie's family says Denny instilled a strong work ethic and a compassionate nature for his fellow beings.
Above all, Boushie's family said he was a man of the community, often helping with various ceremonies and events.
They also described Boushie as being very devoted to his family, including helping raise his two nephews.
Boushie's family said he was loved by all in his family.