FSIN Chief says problems in La Loche, Sask. widespread across province

Chief Bobby Cameron says the serious challenges that La Loche, Sask. faces are very similar to many other indigenous communities across Saskatchewan.

Chief Bobby Cameron says northern village suffers from widespread issues

Memorial in front of La Loche Community School in La Loche, Sask. where one of the shootings took place. (Matt Kruchak/CBC)

Chief Bobby Cameron says it's well-known that La Loche, Sask. has serious challenges.

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations chief said crowded housing, under-funded education and lack of addiction support is rampant in the northern Saskatchewan village. He said those circumstances are very similar to many other indigenous communities across the province.

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Bobby Cameron says many First Nations and Métis communities are dealing with serious issues that must be addressed. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC News)
"We're talking about a community that has two security guards at the liquor store, but no security at the schools," said Chief Cameron. "Something's wrong there."

Cameron believes these circumstances contributed to a terrifying school shooting that killed four people and wounded seven others.

On Friday afternoon, Adam Wood, a teacher, and Marie Janvier, an educational assistant, were gunned down at La Loche Community School  where seven people were also injured and brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, aged 17 and 13 respectively, were killed at a separate residence.

A 17-year-old male suspect has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. 

The chief said liquor is a serious problem in the community, and needs to be addressed.

"The cost of liquor is the same as it is in central and southern Saskatchewan," said Cameron. "For a four litre of milk, we're paying anything from $4, and they're paying $15-$20. For a four litre jug of milk. Something's wrong with our system."

Cameron said these issues are prevalent in many First Nations as well as Métis villages and towns across Saskatchewan. He says there needs to be a concerted plan involving the federal and provincial government to fix these issues.

"There are very few programs being offered to students and our youth on the weekends," he said. "That's where it's so badly, badly, needed. During school hours, there's only so much that a school can offer."

Meanwhile, Chief Cameron said that grief counsellors and trauma teams from the FSIN have been dispatched to La Loche.

"A lot of pain and anguish right now, understandably," he said. "This has been a long, outstanding issue for many years."


  • The photo caption incorrectly identified Bobby Cameron. The caption has since been corrected.
    Jan 25, 2016 5:32 PM CT