There are no words for the grief confronting the people of James Smith Cree Nation and the village of Weldon following the killing of ten people and injuries to at least eighteen more. In addition to our prayers, may we look for longer term opportunities to advocate for change and support under the direction of the communities and others impacted, as they work with their trauma and point out to us the need for systemic change, and better supports for communities and perpetrators alike. The names and photos of those who died have been posted here.
The national church has sent a letter and a prayer from the Moderator to the whole church, saying, “The people of The United Church of Canada express our profound grief at the tragic events in James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby village of Weldon, Saskatchewan. In this most difficult time, we extend deep condolences to those who have lost loved ones, healing prayers to those who were injured, and comfort for all who are afraid.” Please read and share the full letter here.
Special thanks to all offering pastoral care in many forms. On behalf of the North Saskatchewan Hospital Chaplain, Emily Carr, thank you for the expressions of care and outpouring of generosity in response to the tragedy. Folks from the United Church of Canada filled a gap in services in an important and appreciated way. In terms of ongoing support, the Canadian Red Cross, Saskatoon Tribal Council and FSIN are actively supporting communities and family members, while the chaplain is providing spiritual care to families and individuals who remain in hospital. If you wish to financially support the healing process, donations to the Red Cross are welcome. As always, prayers for healing and peace are welcome.
While there has been talk of James Smith Cree Nation beginning a fundraiser for family support and counselling, as of September 7 we do not have confirmation of a fundraiser all can access. United Church people in the area of JSCN are invited to bring supplies and cash to the community hall. Please click here for a list of available supports and a number of initiatives, including simultaneous vigils across the province the evening of September 7.