Manitoba

Man, 25, faces manslaughter charge after death on Birdtail Sioux First Nation

Police have charged a 25-year-old man with manslaughter in connection with a death on a western Manitoba First Nation. It is the second homicide in less than two months in the community.

Western Manitoba community in shock after second homicide death in less than two months

The Birdtail Sioux First Nation is about 290 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg in western Manitoba. (Google Maps )

Police have charged a 25-year-old man with manslaughter in connection with a death on a western Manitoba First Nation.  It is the second homicide in less than two months in the community.

A 21-year-old was found dead on the Birdtail Sioux First Nation early Friday morning, according to RCMP. A 25-year-old man from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, Man., has been charged with manslaughter and was expected in Brandon provincial court on Tuesday. 

"It's one of these things that shocks everybody," Chief Ken Chalmers told CBC News on Tuesday. "It was another shocker for the community definitely. When you have a death in the community and there are families in play." 

Friday's death comes after two people were charged in July with manslaughter after a 59-year-old man was found dead inside his home in the same community. 

Chalmers said he knew the victim and was trying to get him working in the community after he moved back after some time away.

Alcoholism and addictions 'huge problems': Chief 

"I was working with him to get his hopes up and get into our economic development and to get him trained," he said. 

Chalmers believes alcohol was a factor in this most recent tragedy, however RCMP wouldn't confirm that. Regardless, Chalmers says it's something his First Nation is working on.

"Alcoholism and addictions are huge problems," he added. 

Chalmers said Birdtail Sioux will be launching a Circle of Care program in the community, a program that works with youth and young adults to curb problem behaviour and addictions before it becomes even more of a problem. 

He said work has gone on to bring the program to Birdtail Sioux for about a year. It's just one approach of several to boost economic fortunes and get more community members working. Chalmers said the hope is to eventually get 95% of the community's adults working in various industries in or near the community. 

"We've got to stop this somewhere," he said. "We're not immune to it."

Victim was a 'good young man' 

"This young man had the smarts about him but I don't know what happened that night," he added. "We don't want to lose anymore young men and women." 

"We lost a good young man that had the capabilities to turn his life around." 

Chalmers said a wake and funeral for the man will take place later this week. 

Birdtail Sioux First Nation is about 290 km northwest of Winnipeg in western Manitoba. About 450 people live on the reserve. 

now