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Sweetgrass and CFWE news - May 2, 2016

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Firefighter charged in trestle bridge fire

May 2, 2016. A Mayerthorpe firefighter will appear in Stony Plain Provincial Court on Wednesday facing 18 counts of arson, including setting fire to the CN trestle bridge in Mayerthorpe. Lawson Michael Schalm was arrested and charged by the Mayerthorpe RCMP on Saturday. Schalm helped fight the trestle fire, which claimed the bridge on April 26. Schalm is the son of a former mayor of Mayerthorpe and joined the department as a junior member when he was 15. Aiding local RCMP in the investigation, which involved a rash of fires in the community, were the CN Police and Edmonton and Whitecourt general investigative sections.



Métis celebrate Daniels’ decision


April 30, 2016.  The Métis Nation of Alberta hosted approximately 500 people at Fort Edmonton Park on Saturday to celebrate the Supreme Court of Canada’s Daniels’ decision. The SCC ruled that Métis people meet the definition of “Indians” in the Constitution and fall under federal jurisdiction. MNA President Audrey Poitras said Alberta Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan called her on the day of the court’s decision and they have already met to talk about Métis harvesting rights. According to the provincial government, there are an estimated 85,000 Métis people in Alberta.



ENMAX funding will help prevent homelessness


April 29, 2016. Bissell Centre announced new funding from ENMAX, which will increase the organization’s ability to prevent homelessness in Edmonton. Joining previous funders, ENMAX’s significant contribution for Bissell Centre’s Community Bridge program will help stop imminent evictions for people who are on the edge of becoming homeless and struggling to meet their basic needs. “Over half of the people who benefit from the Community Bridge program are children. This means they are able to stay in school, stay with their families, and not endure the stress and anxiety that comes with being uprooted. If we are going to end homelessness, prevention is a must, and this program does that well,” said Gary St. Amand, CEO Bissell Centre. The Community Bridge program, launched in July 2014, is Edmonton’s first collaboration between businesses and organizations to prevent homelessness by preventing evictions.



Drugs, cash seized from Blood Reserve residence


April 29, 2016. Two adults and three youth were arrested in the community of Moses Lake, on the Blood Reserve, and charged with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds obtained by a crime. A search of the residence was carried out by Crime Reduction Unit of the Blood Tribe Police Service and the Cardston RCMP. Approximately seven ounces of marijuana with a street value of approximately $2,000 and $1,131 in Canadian currency were seized. Cyles Chief Body, 20, and Vaugn Oka, 23, will appear in Cardston Provincial Court. The youth, who cannot be named, will appear in youth court in Cardston.



Belcourt among the first winners of new Governor General award


April 28, 2016. Métis artist and author Christi Belcourt is among the inaugural winners of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards. The award recognizes and celebrates outstanding Canadian individuals, teams and organizations whose exceptional and transformative work helps shape our future and positively impact our quality of life. Belcourt was recognized for her use of “cutting-edge applied arts and design and new technologies in an effort to raise awareness and to create momentum toward innovative societal change while respecting traditional protocols and ancestral cultural traditions. Her initiatives relate to a wide range of social issues and she champions forward-looking collaborations that are models of respectful partnerships and principled adaptation of Indigenous cultural influence.” Belcourt’s ancestry originates from Lac Ste. Anne. She now resides in Ontario.