By: Angela Brown
A grieving family is hosting a memorial next week to gather and think of Colten Boushie, 22, who was shot to death on a farm near Biggar on Aug. 9, 2016.
“It’s a traditional thing we do in our culture to have a feast like this after the passing of a loved one,” Alvin Baptiste, Boushie’s uncle, said. “We do believe in the power of prayer, it will heal our family.”
Baptiste said the family will be providing the meal but anyone who wishes to bring anything is “more than welcome.”
“We always accept anyone who wants to attend,” he added.
Baptiste said the past year has been difficult for Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste.
“It’s been really hard on my family, especially my sister losing her son, her baby boy,” he said. “Every day she grieves for her son – at special events that occur, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter. He is not there to share these times with her. That’s one of the things that really hits her hard.”
Baptiste said the family is also inviting the RCMP to take part in the upcoming feast.
“As First Nations people, we have to respect and accept the RCMP,” he said. “They are there to uphold the laws of the land. They are welcome to attend the feast (to help) build the bridges between the RCMP and the First Nations.”
Battlefords RCMP Insp. John Sutherland confirmed Mounties will attend.
“We have been invited to a gathering, and we attend events all the time in communities,” he said. “I think it speaks to the relationships with all the communities that we serve. I believe there will be a number of us going.”
The Boushie family also started a petition asking for an out-of-province investigation and a new Crown prosecutor in the case surrounding Boushie’s death.
Baptiste said the family had concerns about the handling of the case from the beginning.
“We feel they are not doing a thorough investigation at all,” Baptiste said, adding he believes some evidence in the case is being “swept under the rug.”
The feast will take place at 1 p.m. at the Red Pheasant First Nation Hall on Aug. 9.
First Nation support
Baptiste said the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is supporting the petition.
“We’re very grateful and thankful that it has passed through the AFN,” he said.
He added the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is also supporting the petition.
“We have 74 (First Nations) in Saskatchewan supporting us on this,” Baptiste said. “They are keeping an eye on this case to see how we are treated in the justice system to see if we will get justice.”
The trial at the Court of Queen’s Bench starts in January 2018.
Biggar-area farmer Gerald Stanley, 55, has been charged with second-degree murder in Boushie’s death.