Ochapowace First Nation, FSIN accuse RCMP of not responding to trespassing call
RCMP says not all of its 'investigative steps' were followed.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) says Esterhazy RCMP failed to respond to several complaints of a trespasser on Ochapowace First Nation land last week.
According to a press release issued by FSIN, a farmer who had been a tenant before being evicted was seen on reserve. The farmer had been evicted because he allegedly did not pay rent.
Ochapowace's lands manager and pasture manager were approaching the man to tell him they had seen him trespassing two other times before this instance when they saw a gun in the farmer's vehicle, the release said.
"As they approached the vehicle, they saw the gun and fled, concerned for their own safety," Ochapowace Chief Margaret Bear said in the release.
"They come on our land and take whatever they want, and the police won't do anything about it."
Bear said police did not attend the scene at all, despite the incident having been reported to the Esterhazy detachment "several times."
"We can't be simply ignored when we report a serious incident that happens on our lands," FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear said in the release.
"This could have been another gun-related tragedy in Saskatchewan and our Nations are gravely concerned about land disputes with farmers carrying weapons."
The RCMP issued a statement in response to the incident. It said that Chief Superintendent Alfredo Bangloy was made aware of the FSIN complaint on Wednesday, April 17.
The statement reads, in part:
"During a follow-up conversation the following day, Chief Superintendent Bangloy committed to looking into the concerns raised by the FSIN. These efforts are on-going and the Saskatchewan RCMP would like to thank the FSIN for raising their concerns."
Later in the day, the RCMP issued a second statement.
It said it has talked with FSIN and its initial review of the incident indicates that not all of its "investigational steps" were followed.
It also said it's taking steps so that it's less likely for that to happen again.
Ochapowace First Nation is about 160 kilometres east of Regina.