PBCN Chief calls for immediate government action following shooting in Pelican Narrows

Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. -- Photo from www.peterballantyne.ca

Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Chief Karen Bird has called for immediate government action on community safety following reports of a shooting in Pelican Narrows.

Bird said PBCN Chief and Council met with provincial cabinet ministers Paul Merriman, Tim McLeod, and Don McMorris, along with Athabasca MLA Jim Lemaigre, among others, on Nov. 8. She said that meeting was constructive, but continued violence in PBCN communities has prompted calls for swift action on community safety proposals.

“Recent incident have made the need for quick implementation all the more critical,” Bird said in a press release. “We find ourselves in an ongoing state of emergency and our community’s safety hangs in the balance.”

Pelican Narrows RCMP officers received reports of a shooting at around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday. They found an injured man who was transported to hospital with serious injuries.

RCMP investigators say several individuals approached a residence and fired a gun, injuring the victim. As of Thursday evening, the suspects are still at large. RCMP believe the man was targeted.

PBCN declared a state of emergency in October following what Bird called an escalating cycle of violence at the time. The declaration was a response to the death of a 17-year-old youth in Deschambault Lake.

In January, Pelican Narrows increased security measures and instituted a community-wide curfew to try and reduce crime.

In October, Bird said the violence has not only distressed community members, but led to a halt in community services as professionals express concern for their safety.

“Although these incidents demand our immediate attention, we stand firm in our resolve (to) not be ruled by fear,” she said.

The provincial government has introduced or signed on to several initiatives designed to lower crime in rural and remote areas. The list includes a three-way agreement with the federal government and Prince Albert Grand Council to develop a comprehensive approach to community safety planning in PAGC communities.

The province has also introduced the Warrant Compliance Act which allows the Warrant Intelligence Team to share information with law enforcement to assist in arresting prolific violence offenders. The team became operational on Nov. 1.

The province also recently hired a new Chief Marshal for the Saskatchewan Marshal Service (SMS) which will become active in 2026.

The Ministry of Corrections, Policing, and Public Safety released a statement saying they are “seeing a big impact from recent investments” in the Warrant Enforcement and Suppression Team (WEST), the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team (STRT), and Crime Reduction Teams (CRT)”

“Continuous discussions are taking place regarding First Nations policing with our First Nations and federal partners,” reads the statement. “We will continue to focus our efforts on making communities safer by continuing investments into the RCMP, supporting First Nations as they explore future policing models, and creating the Saskatchewan Marshals Service.”