Alberta Métis hunting for food after losing job in the pandemic found shot to death
There have been high-profile instances of violence against indigenous people , and the tensions are especially taught in Canada’s rural areas
The Métis men had, Sansom’s family said, on Friday evening dropped a moose off at Cardinal’s stepson’s house, located north of Glendon, Alta.But early Saturday morning, both men were found dead, with gunshot wounds, on the road outside Sansom’s black 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck. The scene located at Township Road 622 and Range Road 84, roughly a 10-minute drive north of the village of Glendon — known for its giant perogy — is a heavily rural area, with sub-divided plots of land and a few residences.
I'm devastated by what happened The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is investigating the deaths, calling them suspicious, but have remained tight-lipped on any further details of what happened overnight on that stretch of road, some 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.
An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday.Allen Benson, CEO of the Native Counselling Services of Alberta and a member of the Beaver Lake First Nation, who’s familiar with traditional hunting rights and practices, said he was on the road when he heard about the deaths. “I’m devastated by what happened. I’m just shocked,” Benson said.
. In Saskatchewan, a jury acquitted farmer Gerald Stanley in the 2016 shooting death of Colten Boushie, a resident of the nearby Cree Red Pheasant First Nation.Tensions were raw right across the nation several weeks ago, in the pre-COVID-19 days, as protesters against the natural gas pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia brought the country to a standstill.
All of this makes questions about racism hard to avoid in this instance — many were already doing so early in the week.But, Benson cautioned, we just don’t know yet what happened. “We need to bring these people to justice. I’m hoping it gets resolved quickly so we find out what actually happened,” he said.
The RCMP say they have no evidence at this point that the deaths were racially motivated.Audrey Poitras, president of the Métis Nation of Alberta, called the two deaths “tragic.”“I understand that these were two Métis men simply hunting to feed their families in a time of need,” Poitras said in a statement. “This is exactly the sort of activity that our constitutional rights as Métis people are meant to protect.”
Friends, family and co-workers had nothing but good to say about the two men.Sansom, 39, had recently been laid off from his job as a heavy-duty mechanic in Nobleford, Alta., a bedroom community of Lethbridge in the south of the province, because of the economic downturn from COVID-19. He was also a firefighter in the community, remembered by his firehall for helping people.
They got murdered for no reason “I felt like my heart has been ripped through my stomach and I haven’t been able to eat for three days,” said Mike Sansom, his brother, on Monday. “They got murdered for no reason. There’s nothing. There’s no reason for it.”
Cardinal, 57, was also remembered as a good person, one who knew his way around the woods and would tell co-workers stories about trapping and wildlife. Anna Thompson said she worked with him briefly a few years ago in Fort McMurray, and he would bring bags of candy, earning himself the nickname Willy Wonka.
“Every morning when we’d jump in the truck he would give us our choices for the day and somehow the nickname we gave him became Willy Wonka! He always laughed about it,” Thompson told National Post. “One day I was complaining about my feet being cold and the next morning he showed up with a nice warm pair of brand new socks for me! Took them straight from his stash of socks.”
It wasn’t just co-workers he helped, Thompson wrote. She said he often told stories about bringing meat to families and friends in need: “He was one of the good ones for sure.”In 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Métis people had the constitutional right to hunt for food, a ruling that dated back to a case that began a decade earlier, when Steve and Roddy Powley shot and killed a moose near Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and defended themselves through the court system.
I really want their killers found In March 2019, the Alberta government, under then-premier Rachel Notley, reached a deal with the Métis Nation of Alberta, setting out four areas across central and northern Alberta where Métis people can hunt, trap and fish for food at any time of year, so long as they can prove an historical and contemporary connection to those “harvesting” areas.
This policy, which came into effect in September 2019, exempts Métis from some of the restrictions that apply to other Albertans, such as seasonal hunting rules. Métis and First Nation hunters are allowed to hunt and fish year-round, barring specific conservation closures.
Other regulations, such as federal firearms transport rules, prohibitions on shooting from highways and at night, still apply.According to family, Sansom and Cardinal had Métis hunting rights. They were hunting near Seibert Lake, within the Lakeland Provincial Recreation Area, where hunting is allowed, and which is within a designated harvesting area.
Jake Sansom leaves behind his wife, Sarah, and three children, aged eight, 11 and 13. Cardinal had a daughter, five grandkids and three stepchildren. Police are looking for two trucks that drove by the area near where the two were found.“I really want their killers found so they can see what they took from us. Cause we are hurting deeply,” wrote Sarah Sansom, Jake’s widow, on a Facebook post from Premier Jason Kenney.Read more: National Post »
This is so tragic. My heart breaks for their families. HuffPostCanada covidfallout Gee, over on Facebook the NAT POST is insinuating the deaths were racially motivated... Here on Twitter, we're getting the, 'Just feeding their families because of the China virus; THINK OF THE CHILDREN!' angle Indians hunt regardless of job status Garbage vulture journalism
Sooo Sad... seemingly Murdered for Providing Food for their Family.. during the COVID19 employment downsizing.. 😡🤬 Sad news, hope this will be solved quickly. This is truly a tragedy!! Blessings to all. Hope the Truth comes out. This makes me so angry and heart broken for the familes . I hope they find the killers and bring them to justice . Praying for these familes in this horrible time
' This is so inhumane!' 💔 Tragic 😔 This is so very tragic. My heart aches for the families of these men. Heartbreaking news. 💔 😢😢 😮😳😞 Was it accidental? acesxy101 damm 😯
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Letters to the editor: March 30: ‘Almost everyone respected the two-metre rule, but two men brushed past within a couple of feet.’ How readers are coping with life and COVID-19, plus other letters to the editorMarch 30: ‘Almost everyone respected the two-metre rule, but two men brushed past within a couple of feet.’ How readers are coping with life and COVID-19, plus other letters to the editor GlobeDebate