Alberta First Nations want man accused of threatening their communities kept in custody - APTN NewsAPTN News

Alberta First Nations want man accused of threatening their communities kept in custody

Chris Stewart
APTN News
The man accused of wanting to shoot up Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Whitefish Lake First Nation and the Ashmont school is at home waiting for his next court appearance.

But dozens of community members from Saddle Lake say they want him held in custody until his next court appearance.

Andrew Sydora, 70, is charged with three counts of uttering threats after allegedly saying he was going to shoot up the two communities – and the school.

Nearly all of the students at the school are Indigenous.

Saddle Lake residents who attended the court in St. Paul, Alta., say they fear for their children and want Sydora locked up.

“We as First Nation people are tired of being pushed around,” said Roland Hunter, a member of Saddle Lake. “Our voices need to be heard, and our lives matter. Especially when it comes to our children. We will protect them.”

Saddle Lake Chief Eric Shirt says his community isn’t’ safe – even with RCMP officers stationed at the schools.

“The fact that he made this kind of threat and he was released without any consequences, that to me is unacceptable,” said Shirt.

“This is a serious matter and it should have been treated seriously.”

Shirt didn’t accept the RCMP’s response to allowing Sydora to be free.

“The RCMP told us they decided to release him because he felt remorse. Remorse is a normal function to people who were caught. That is not satisfactory an answer for releasing him” Shirt told the APTN News.

At a Community Meeting Thursday night, they said the schools would remain in a soft lock down. And the RCMP presence will continue. A crisis support team will be available to the youth.

cstewart@aptn.ca

@aptnchris

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