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Saddle Lake deciding next steps as court adjourns for Ashmont man charged with uttered threats

Band members from Saddle Lake gathered outside the St. Paul Provincial Court.  

There is an emergency band meeting tonight in Saddle Lake as the Nation will decide the next steps following today’s court proceedings in St. Paul.

The accused who allegedly uttered threats to shoot up Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Whitefish Lake Cree Nation and Ashmont School did not appear in court today as the matter was adjourned until Nov. 21.

Legal counsel for 70-year-old Andrew Sydora said he was in the hospital.

A group of 30-40 Saddle Lake band members showed up outside the courthouse and listened to the ruling of adjournment.

Saddle Lake Chief Eric Shirt said it was disappointing and the community does not feel safe.

“We’re concerned about the way that it was treated by the RCMP since it wasn’t really taken seriously,” said Shirt.

“How can we send kids back to school to a school where this man was only a couple blocks away and we don’t know his mental health? Who makes those kinds of threats?” he said.

Many that showed up to court held signs condemning Sydora’s alleged threats.

Patrick Heavenfire from Saddle Lake outside St. Paul Provincial Court.

School buses from Saddle Lake or Whitefish Lake have not been running this week in the wake of the arrest and added security measures have been taken at Ashmont School.

In a press release earlier on Monday, Saddle Lake said they view the threats as an act of terrorism and an issue that runs deeper in society.

They want reassurances that the accused will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“He was targeting a specific group of people. That to me is racism because he is targeting a group of people and causing great harm. That is a crime of hate. And there was no charge on that,” said Shirt.

“He was charged for uttering threats, which I think is just a slap on the wrist. But the biggest concern also from us is the fact he was talking to somebody about this, and then somebody chose not to report it. How many conversations are going on out there? You’ve got to stop those kinds of conversations.”

Decisions on how to keep students and Saddle Lake Cree Nation safe will be addressed tonight at the band meeting.

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