Saskatchewan Indigenous group won't sign agreement with RCMP after trespassing

SASKATOON — The chief of The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says it will not be signing a relationship agreement with RCMP after officers failed to properly investigate a trespassing complaint on a reserve.

Bobby Cameron says a memorandum of understanding was set to be signed with Mounties this year, but it won't happen now.

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The FSIN complained after a farmer who had been evicted from a reserve east of Regina for failing to pay rent was spotted there last week.

Ochapowace First Nation Chief Margaret Bear says the farmer's son was attempting to harvest the crop on the property and, when staff approached his truck, they saw a gun within reach in the vehicle.

They called RCMP but officers did not immediately respond.

RCMP later said they had done an initial review and determined not all proper steps were followed in the investigation.

Cameron says RCMP would have handled the complaint differently if an Indigenous person was reported to be trespassing on non-reserve land with a gun.

"What if I was on non-First Nation land with a gun that was exposed and continue to go onto land that I wasn't supposed to be on. What would happen to me?" Cameron said at a news conference Thursday.

"I would probably get shot. If I wasn't shot, I'd be put in remand, thrown in jail until I was charged with trespassing."

Saskatchewan RCMP said in an email Thursday that they are working directly with the people involved in the trespassing complaint.

"The RCMP is committed to continuing our work with the FSIN and all Indigenous people in Saskatchewan regardless of the status or existence of MOUs," said the statement.

"We will continue to work hard to strengthen our relationships with all the communities we serve with the end goal of safer communities for all Saskatchewan residents."

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