By Mervin Brass

A New Years Day murder on the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation has prompted the Chief and Council to deal with the community’s drug and alcohol issues.

Last Friday, RCMP responded to a firearm complaint at a house on Standing Buffalo and found 28-year-old Mario Kaiswatum dead inside the home.

The Mounties arrested and charged Maurice Maple (55) with one count of First Degree murder.

“It’s a very sad day in our community. We have been faced with a very unfortunate tragedy involving two of our band members,” said Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation Chief Rodger Redman. “This unfortunate event is an isolated occurrence and our community is in shock. This is something we don’t experience regularly, and we are working in a respectful manner with both families to ensure they are receiving the necessary counselling and services needed during this hard time.”

In October of 2012, a double homicide shook the community following the deaths of Jessica Redman and Sheldon Yuzicappi.

Brittany Bear and Kody Bear along with a 17-year old male received life sentences for the Second Degree murders.

About 10 years ago in the summer of 2006, Clayton Bruce Laswisse was charged with Manslaughter for the beating death of Lloyd Isnana Jr.

As a result of the most recent incident, the Standing Buffalo leadership says they are committed to continuing to address the alcohol and drug abuse issues within the community including working collaboratively with the local RCMP.

“Standing Buffalo has worked diligently to implement public safety protocols with the RCMP that address many issues from crisis to culture, we sit on the police management board and have a tripartite agreement between the RCMP and neighbouring communities, through that we hosted a Smudge Walk to create awareness of the affects of drugs and alcohol, and we have our own security patrols made up of our own citizens that help keep our community safe. These are just some of the good things we have in our community,” said Redman.

“We will be holding a community meeting to address future issues, how we respond as a community, and most importantly how we can work on healing our community,” said Redman. Regarding the issue of a dry reserve, Redman states “We work with a justice committee that would look into this further, and there is a whole process involved that we would need to follow before we come to any decision. Through our due diligence, the people will ultimately decide what is the best course to take.”

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