Heartbreak in Hobbema

The National's coverage of the Samson Cree Nation's struggle to control gun and gang violence at the central Alberta reserve.

Early in the morning of Monday, September 5, 2011, a 23 year-old woman was found shot in the neck at her home on the Hobbema reserve, about 50 kilometres south of Edmonton.  She was later pronounced dead in hospital.

This latest shooting occurred next door to the home of five-year-old Ethan Yellowbird, who was found fatally shot inside his residence on the Samson townsite on Monday, July 11.  The boy was the grandson of Marvin Yellowbird, the chief of the reserve.  RCMP have made no arrests in the shooting so far, making it the fifth unresolved homicide in the community.

The Samson Cree First Nation reserve has been plagued by drug and gang violence over the years.  Over 40 drive-by shootings have occurred just this year, according to local community members.  After two-year-old Asia Saddleback was injured in crossfire between rival gangs in 2008, band leaders and police promised to improve safety and enforcement in the area. 

In this report, you will find The National's coverage of these violent incidents, as well as some of Hobbema's efforts to address them.