RCMP on the Piikani Nation are appealing for the public’s help in finding a missing 17-year-old girl.
Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull was last seen in Brocket at noon this past Monday, Nov. 20. Authorities are worried for the teen’s well-being and would like to speak with her.
Jalessa Joy is described as being about 5 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing 95 pounds. She has brown hair with black tips, and brown eyes. It’s believed she was wearing black clothing, including a thin black sweater.
Anyone with information of Jalessa Joy’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Piikani Nation RCMP detachment at 403-965-2000.
You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), if you wish to remain anonymous or go online towww.P3Tips.com.
A former civilian jail guard at the Piikani Nation RCMP detachment in Brocket is facing criminal charges of sexual assault and breach of trust after an alleged in-custody assault last week.
Charles G. Provost, 32, of Brocket, has been removed from his position as a Corps of Commissionaire guard at the detachment, following an investigation by the Southern Alberta RCMP general investigations section.
Police say the assault is alleged to have been committed in the early morning hours of Oct. 13 against a woman lodged inside a cell.
Charges were laid following the investigation, which included a review of cell block video surveillance.
Supt. Rick Jane, acting district officer for Southern Alberta RCMP, said in a statement that the force “takes all sexual assault incidents very seriously.”
“Once our officers were notified that this had happened, action was taken very quickly and a thorough investigation was completed,” he said.
“No matter what the circumstances are, anyone in the care of the RCMP must be protected and we will not tolerate a breach of trust.”
RCMP have also ordered an operational review to see if any changes to policies and procedures should be made in light of the case.
Provost has been released from custody with conditions and is scheduled to appear Nov. 23 in the Alberta court of justice in Pincher Creek.
What crosses your mind as you pass through the west end of Brocket and see the memorial display on the fence line? Does the row of shoes, tobacco ties and shirts grab your attention or has it faded and become one with the background?
June 2021 photo of the fence-line display at Brocket by Shannon Peace.
When passing by, my mind always goes back to the June evening in 2021 when the sky blazed orange and Brenda Shenton captured the amazing image below — a pair of black-and-white child’s shoes against a brilliant orange sunset. No enhancement was applied to the photo — you are seeing exactly what we saw that night.
Never had the need for truth and reconciliation been stronger than in the weeks following the 2021 discovery of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. It was not only the Indigenous people fighting for recognition and rights, it was non-Indigenous Canadians from coast to coast demanding answers and action.
While residential school history was, in reality, only one conversation with an Indigenous person away, the topic was seldom in the public eye. Suddenly it presented itself boldly and unapologetically, with a ferocity matching that orange sky.
Truths carried by generations of Indigenous people affected by the residential school system were now unequivocally told to an audience that was receptive and ready to listen. Efforts to kill the Indian in the child were on display under a harsh international spotlight and, fuelled by anger and empathy, were shared from coast to coast and beyond.
Some were embarrassed, apologetic or both, while others denied history. Whatever the case, ugliness was front and centre in the boldest of colours, and was inspiring change and demanding action.
People of all cultures made a conscious effort to learn more and to support the need for truth and reconciliation.
It was a necessary first step.
June 2021 image taken at Piikani Nation by Brenda Shenton.
While past actions and ignorance can’t be changed, we can do better going forward. Whether we learned about residential schools as part of our education or only recently, today is the time for meaningful action. The truths we know now demand attention, and bright orange serves as a reminder.
The energy exuding from the image of a blazing sky behind a tiny pair of runners hanging from barbed wire and the feeling it continues to bring to me two years later, is what inspires me to persist in contributing to truth and reconciliation efforts.
In case one is inclined to forget, the teddy bears hanging at the roadside in Piikani Nation also keep things fresh.
Piikani elders are gracious when sharing their knowledge, some speaking for the first time about their experiences. Those inclined to listen may learn about the Creator, Mother Earth, family relations, knowledge keeping and the Ksi ski ni (bald eagle).
Many have learned about residential school history and reflected on its impact.
Many have shown new respect to Indigenous people in our community.
Many have attended powwows and looked beyond the regalia to learn the meaning of the dances and the honour songs.
Many have a new understanding of the addictions and mental health challenges that affect Indigenous people.
Many have newfound respect and have allowed dignity based on what has been learned.
Many have acknowledged the truth that Indigenous women and girls have a higher risk of being victims of violence and homicide than non-Indigenous females.
Many have examined personal biases and strive to do better.
And many are teaching their children difficult history lessons and moulding them into people who will be inspired to make change.
Every action is commendable.
For the Indigenous and for us all, there is new hope, but it will be generations more before reconciliation can lead to true healing of deep wounds.
A T-shirt, once bright orange, hangs faded and torn on the fence-line monument at Brocket. September 2023 photo by Shannon Peace.
Indigenous people have fought for change for many years. Our job is to uplift their voices and to fight alongside them. We can contribute by amplifying their voices in spaces where they aren’t heard and help address the changes, wants and needs that are their reality. We can keep the stories alive and make sure history does not repeat itself.
What strikes me now, when passing the roadside monument, is one particular T-shirt. Once bright orange, two years in the elements has faded it to nearly white. Despite being tattered and torn by an environment beyond its control, it still exudes a sense of pride from its place on the barbed-wire fence.
People were driven to action by the vivid orange. But it seems the spirit of support is fading along with the shirt. Good intentions are fading.
The next time you drive through Piikani Nation, why not see that ragged shirt as a symbol of resilience and perseverance? Imagine it in brilliant colour and let it motivate you to help create a brighter future.
Letting truth and reconciliation intentions fade away is like killing the Indian in the child all over again.
Let’s see orange together.
June 2021 photo by Shannon Peace.
Since 2021, the colour has all but disappeared from these shoes. September 2023 photo by Shannon Peace.
June 2021 photo by Shannon Peace.
The colour of the moccasins has faded to grey due to time in the elements. September 2023 photo by Shannon Peace.
Visual presentation of this article published in the Oct. 4, 2023 print issue of Shootin’ the Breeze.
On the afternoon of May 26, Beatrice Little Mustache stood in a spectacular and festively decorated University of British Columbia auditorium to address the large graduating class. Beatrice had been invited there specifically to receive the highest award the university gives, namely an honorary doctor of laws degree (honoris causa, for the sake of honour).
The chancellor of the university, who stood next to her at the podium that day, was Steven Point, former lieutenant-governor of B.C. and the first Indigenous person to hold the chancellor position there.
Point is of the Skowkale First Nation and is a huge advocate for Indigenous Peoples. His pride, on hearing Beatrice’s journey and contributions throughout her life so far, shone from his face that afternoon.
That journey to get to this remarkable point in time for Beatrice Little Mustache has been a long one, with many trials. Born in 1948, she was the fourth of eight children of Nick and Agnes Smith and was delivered by a midwife on the Piikani reserve at Brocket.
Growing up they were all raised in Blackfoot culture and speak fluent Blackfoot, something the church tried hard to eradicate. They were disciplined with love not strapping, like in the residential school, and are deeply religious.
Her parents taught her the values she carries today: “To be kind, caring, gentle and positively assertive when I need to be.”
They also taught her the seven sacred teachings, through the stories of her ancestors. Those teachings are truth, humility, wisdom, honesty, courage, respect and love.
Vice-chancellor Deborah Buszard spoke at great length to the graduates about Beatrice’s journey and her accomplishments to date. She then officially requested that chancellor Point confer the honorary doctor of laws degree on her.
She then invited Beatrice’s nephew Ryan Smith to the stage, where he stood and profoundly sang a Black Horse Society song, one that belongs specifically to her family (clan).
Buszard stated that Beatrice was a survivor of residential schools but “did not allow the trauma she endured to break her spirit, nor her will to seek lifelong wisdom and serve the needs of others.”
That journey is now 44 years long, working in positions in adult and child welfare in all levels of government — band, municipal, provincial and federal. Beatrice has held leadership positions with Piikani Family Services, Alberta Provincial Child Welfare and the First Nations Health Consortium. All in the service of her Piikani First Nation and other Treaty 7 First Nation communities.
What is remarkable about Beatrice is that while working full time she raised five children and graduated from Mount Royal College with a diploma in social work. She later went on to acquire a bachelor of social work degree at the University of Calgary.
These days, Beatrice is active as a longtime trustee with the Peigan Board of Education, including 13 years as its chairwoman.
Since 2017 she has worked hard to promote enhanced education on issues pertaining to treatment and planning for First Nations youth in care. This work is done under the umbrella of a program known as Jordan’s Principle. This principle is described as a child-first, needs-based initiative that ensures all First Nations children have equitable access to all government-funded services.
This initiative came about after five-year-old Jordan River Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation died in hospital in 2005 amid a jurisdictional dispute between provincial and federal governments.
More recently, Beatrice has taken a leading role in trying to address the opioid crisis on the Piikani reserve. She shared a statistic with me about how many have been lost in one year there that left me stunned. She is undeterred in her determination to do all she can for her people.
Her words to the UBC graduates last month were profoundly important and in them were several messages.
It was her observation to them all that “Education is the key to positive change in all social and economic problems in life.”
She went on to say, “In this life we never know where the journey will lead us. In this era of truth and reconciliation, it is important for you graduates to be considerate of First Nations people and more importantly our children. Be respectful to their culture and their language and always seek guidance from the elders in your community. For they are the knowledge keepers.”
She then challenged the grads to step out of their comfort zone and go educate themselves on First Nations territories. “Learn our culture and protocols; maybe even attend a powwow. By doing this you will see a world different from who you are. You will see the seven sacred teachings in action.”
Beatrice Little Mustache has faced a number of extremely challenging life experiences, including a devastating house fire, the death of two spouses and a child, and the continuing mistreatment of her First Nations people and children. But after 44 years she continues to apply those seven sacred values in her advocacy on behalf of children, parents and elders.
A traditional dancer and gifted seamstress of regalia, she participates in community events to unite families and to honour elders. She is, among many things, an ardent golfer and scored a hole-in-one on the Pincher Creek course in 2020.
Beatrice Little Mustache’s resilience serves as an example to all of us, for hers is a life that has been lived and her journey continues.
First published in the June 7, 2023, issue of Shootin’ the Breeze.
Students, educators and elders wrapped up this spring’s Piikani Days at Brocket’s Education Campus last Friday.
They’d spent much of the past week celebrating Piikanissini, or “who we are as a people,” through song and dance and traditional Blackfoot games.
The Piikani, one of four First Nations within the Blackfoot Confederacy, have criss-crossed what is now southwestern Alberta and northern Montana for millennia before their more recent ancestors signed Treaty 7 in the late 19th century.
They intend to preserve their way of life for millennia to come, as their credo makes unambiguously clear.
“We’ll be known forever by the forever we leave behind,” Billy Yellowhorn reminded the kids as they filed back into Napi Playground Elementary.
They’d met outside to recognize first-grader Kacey Patrick and fifth-grader Tavyen Many Guns, chosen to represent the school on the basis of their Three A’s: academics, attendance and attitude.
Their proficiency in the Blackfoot language, the sinew that binds their culture, was certainly no less important, according to Blackfoot instructor Jo-Ann Yellowhorn.
“It’s important to us that our children maintain our identity, our language and our ways,” Yellowhorn told Shootin’ the Breeze after Friday’s ceremony.
The community of Brocket has celebrated Piikani Days for at least 14 years now, and Yellowhorn says that in that time she’s seen a rising swell of community support and investment from residents and from their Kainaim confederates.
This year marks a shift from Piikani Nation’s past practice of crowning girl students as Piikani princesses.
Instead, young Patrick and Many Guns are cultural ambassadors who will represent their school at public events.
“We wanted to give boys a chance to be role models as well,” Yellowhorn explained.
The elementary school and neighbouring Piikani Nation Secondary are inviting anyone who wants to celebrate Blackfoot culture to join their June 21 powwow at the high school’s gym.
The powwow will feature exhibition and honour dances, a free giveaway, and an Owl and Rabbit dance contest, among other highlights.
Doors open at Piikani Nation Secondary at 5 p.m. sharp.
For more information, please call Yellowhorn at 403-965-3877 or Maria Crow Shoe at 403-632-5248.
Fort Macleod RCMP are looking for a Brocket man charged in connection with a highway collision that killed his young son last fall.
Ryan Scott Potts, 38, was allegedly drunk behind the wheel when his Dodge Caravan collided with a semi-trailer at the intersection of Highways 2 and 3 late Friday, Oct. 21, according to Cpl. Paul Bedard.
Potts was driving with his five and seven-year-old sons when the Dodge collided with the semi’s trailer. All three were rushed to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, where Bedard said the boys were treated with “serious, life-threatening injuries” and then transported to hospital in Calgary.
Tragically, the five-year-old died of his injuries, but his older brother survived and was later discharged.
Potts was too badly injured to give a breath sample at the scene of the wreck, but Bedard said a toxicology screen showed that his blood-alcohol level was around 0.238 shortly after the collision.
The legal driving limit in Alberta is 0.08.
Potts was charged in December with nine offences related to the collision. Mounties are looking to arrest Potts, current whereabouts unknown, for the following offences:
—Impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death
—Impaired operation of motor vehicle causing bodily harm
—Impaired operation of motor vehicle
—Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death
—Dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing bodily harm
—Operation of motor vehicle while prohibited
—Criminal negligence causing death
—Criminal negligence causing bodily harm
—Driving an uninsured motor vehicle
Anyone who knows where to find Potts is asked to call Fort Macleod RCMP at 403-553-7220 or phone Crimestoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). Tips can also be sent online at www.P3Tips.com or by cell phone using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.
Sally was born in Evans City, Pennsylvania, to Bruce and Myrtle Sutton on Nov. 23, 1951. She enjoyed her childhood with her siblings, Susan, Wayne and Wendy. From a young age, Sally learned of the love of Jesus and built a faith that never wavered throughout her life.
After graduating from high school, Sally attended Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was there that Sally met the love of her life, Melvin Boerema. Mel and Sally were married on Aug. 10, 1974, and moved to Sand Lake, Michigan.
Sally married Mel knowing that he was going to work as a minister with Indigenous people with North American Indigenous Ministries. In the spring of 1977, a year after the birth of their first daughter, Sonya, Mel and Sally moved to Agassiz, British Columbia, to work with the Sto:lo people on the Seabird Island First Nation. While living in Agassiz, their second daughter, Amanda, was born.
In 1979, Mel and Sally moved to work with the Nlaka’pamux First Nations in Lytton, B.C. Mel and Sally welcomed their son, Daniel, while living there. In 1989, the family moved to Vernon, B.C., where Mel and Sally worked with the Syilx Okanagan people and ran a wilderness camping program, Kla-How-Ya Wilderness Trails, for Indigenous youth.
When Kla-How-Ya Wilderness Trails found a new home in the foothills of Alberta, Mel and Sally moved to Pincher Creek in 2002. Mel and Sally found their heart’s home with the Blackfoot people of the Piikani Nation and became involved in the Lighthouse Church there. Sally found joy in teaching cooking and baking to girls in the community, sewing with her friends, and serving through the church.
One of Sally’s greatest joys was being a grandmother, and she delighted in her grandchildren, Sena, Soren, Violet, Nicola, Juliet and Vanessa. She was a creative and connected grandma, always finding crafts, cooking challenges and adventures to share with the kids and offering unconditional love, support and snuggles.
Sally is survived by her husband of 48 years, Mel Boerema; her daughters, Sonya (Troy) Bradley, Amanda (Tim) Doling; her son, Dan Boerema; and her grandchildren. She is also survived by her father, Bruce Sutton, and her siblings Wayne Sutton and Wendy Barkley.
Sally was predeceased by her mother, Myrtle Sutton, and by her sister Susan Emelander.
A wake was held for Sally at the Lighthouse Church on the Piikani First Nation on Sunday, Nov. 20, and Sally’s funeral was held at Creekside Community Church in Pincher Creek at on Nov. 21.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Snodgrass Funeral Homes
On Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at 11 a.m., there was a procession from Snodgrass Funeral Home in Pincher Creek for a private one-day wake at the Yellow Horn Ranch on Piikani Nation. Wake continued until noon, Friday, Sept. 17. Prayer service was held at 2 p.m. at Snodgrass Funeral Home on Friday, Sept. 17, followed by visitation until 10 p.m.
Funeral service was held at Snodgrass on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 1 p.m., followed by interment at Piikani Nation Cemetery in Brocket.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Snodgrass Funeral Homes
https://shootinthebreeze.ca/crowsnest-pass-council-approves-business-licence-payment-plan/Most of us are familiar with the three Rs associated with limiting our waste: reduce, reuse and recycle.
As it turns out, there’s a fourth R: renew the recycling licence.
During the Feb. 22 regular council meeting for the Town of Pincher Creek, Coun. Scott Korbett formally announced the town would not be renewing its recycling contract with KJ Cameron Service Industries. Come June 30, only empty beverage containers will be accepted at the bottle depot.
“The Town of Pincher Creek intends to continue to offer a recycling program,” the town’s official statement reads. “We are currently working with our regional partners to have a smooth transition to a new program by the end of June.”
While understanding the town is obligated to make economic decisions when it comes to contracts, Weston Whitfield, owner and manager of KJ Cameron, worries consolidating services on a regional basis might result in an inefficient service to taxpayers.
The process of gathering, transporting, then re-sorting material, Mr. Whitfield adds, might decrease the price recycling facilities are willing to pay.
“My concern is in the past, places that have done collaborations like that end up with a little bit of contamination and it can affect the resale of the product,” he says.
Although no official details have been released, the plan for future recycling appears to involve the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill Association.
Discussion recorded in the minutes of the Jan. 20, 2021, regular meeting of the landfill association includes “Recycling Update” as an agenda item.
The minutes describe proposals being sent to each of the municipalities and note that, despite no reply being received, each of the municipal representatives — Coun. Dean Ward from Crowsnest Pass, Coun. Brian McGillivray from Pincher Creek and Reeve Brian Hammond from the MD of Pincher Creek — indicated their respective councils are still considering or interested in the landfill’s recycling proposal.
Recycling was also a topic during last week’s council meetings for both the MD of Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass.
During the MD of Pincher Creek’s Feb. 23 council meeting, chief administrative officer Troy MacCulloch updated council on plans to move collection bins from outside the MD office to a site off Bighorn Avenue and Highway 507, near the Co-op lumberyard.
The site will cover recycling needs for residents from both the MD and town.
“This will be a site that the MD will build,” said CAO MacCulloch. “We will cost-share it with the town, and then going forward it would be operated and manned by the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill.”
Plans for the new recycling site are still tentative as the MD is working with the current landowner to develop a lease that would permit the property to be used as a transfer station for garbage and recyclables.
The garbage bins by the MD office, he added, could also be removed. This will allow for further development and easier access of the standpipe, which will remain at the location.
Meetings with Pincher Creek administration have discussed the possibility of the MD taking over the composting facility, which would be included on the site.
Crowsnest Pass council also voted Feb. 23 to direct administration to find a location for their own recycling bin.
Ease of access, along with being sheltered from the weather and from travellers’ field of vision, were identified as main priorities.
Administration was asked to present a location at the March 16 council meeting with hopes that users could begin dropping off recycling by the end of the month.
The goal is to eventually have three sites in the municipality to gather recycling. Beginning with one, said CAO Patrick Thomas, was a good place to “at least start and see what the challenges are,” especially to “see how [building] the fencing and screening goes.”
Private family prayer service to be held at Snodgrass Funeral Home.
A wake service will be held at Snodgrass Funeral Home on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, from 2 to 11 p.m. for public attendance. (Please call Snodgrass at 403-627-4864 for visitation time.)
The wake will commence on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, at noon until 7:30 p.m. for public attendance.
Funeral service for the late Nadine Iron Shirt will be held at Snodgrass Funeral Home on Monday, March 1, at 1 p.m. with immediate family ONLY, with Pastor Jeff Sayson and Doug Iron Shirt officiating. Call Snodgrass 403-627-4864 for Zoom link.
Due to gathering restrictions, only 20 participants may be present at a time during the wake services and funeral service.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Snodgrass Funeral Homes