PAGC pledges $10,000 to family of Colten Boushie

Supporters hold signs during the Justice for Colten Rally at the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre in Prince Albert on Sunday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald.

The Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) hasn’t limited themselves to just offering morale support to Colten Boushie’s family.

They’re also dipping into their pockets to provide financial help as well.

On Sunday, PAGC Vice-Chief Joseph Tsannie announced the organization would donate $10,000 to the family, who have travelled to Parliament Hill to take up their case with the federal government. The announcement was met with loud applause from all in attendance.

PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte said they heard the family faced some financial hardship in travelling to Ottawa, and the organization felt this was one need they could meet.

“They struggled financially to travel to places, like with the cost of gas, cost of food, cost of everything and today they travelled to Ottawa,” Hardlotte said. “They needed that. Everybody needs money, so we came to the decision that … it’s the right thing to do.”

The PAGC wasn’t the only organization stepping up to the plate. Thunderchild First Nation Chief Delbert Wapass offered $5,000 on behalf of his community to help with the family’s expenses. However, Wapass’ offer had a bit more punch to it.

During a speech at Sunday’s rally, he said Thunderchild’s council came to the decision after seeing a GoFundMe account that was set up to help pay legal expenses for the Stanley family. As of Monday, donors have given $108,831 to the cause. The page’s goal is $150,000.

Wapass said if the Stanley’s were going to receive that kind of support, it was important for Indigenous people to offer the same thing to Boushie’s family.

Hardlotte said the PAGC’s decision was focused more on the family’s needs, not on countering other decisions. However, he added that online rhetoric and social media efforts like this have set back reconciliation efforts. He’s optimistic Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can avoid those roadblocks in the future, but disappointed they’re there in the first place.

“We were on a good path, I believe, a path where we were making progress in the area of reconciliation,” Hardlotte said. “I pray to the Creator that good things will happen with Colten Boushie’s legacy.”

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca