B.C. Indian Band moves toward becoming a dry reserve

Death of young Penticton man catalyst to work towards becoming alcohol and drug free reserve

  • Jun. 15, 2018 4:35 p.m.

UPDATE: Fri., June 15 at 5:25 p.m.

Although moving towards a drug and alcohol free reserve has been on the books since 2013, a recent death of a 22-year-old Penticton Indian Band man prompted the reserve to make it an official ideal Friday.

Dawn Russell, communications coordinator for the PIB, told the Western News Friday, the young man fatally overdosed last week from opioid use.

Rusell was the young man’s teacher for two years and always thought he would make a great dad one day.

“I always thought, ‘oh, I’m going to hold his babies one day,” she said.

“He’s 22. He should be getting married, starting jobs, having kids, going to university. The loss of this is huge. He’s one of our community members that chops wood for our elders. We all wanted to see him grow up and see what he would do with his life. It’s a blow to the whole community.”

Related:First Nations people in B.C. three times more likely to die of overdose

She thought his death was the first as a result of opioid misuse, but that drug addiction has impacted the community just as it has in all other communities across the country.

“We’ve all been affected. It’s not about whether or not someone was lost or naloxone administered to revive them. It’s impacting us. We have to go out and get naloxone training to help save our members,” she said.

In 2013, the PIB underwent a Comprehensive Community Plan. During the process every member of the band was consulted from children to seniors, Russell explained, from those discussions it became clear the overwhelming majority of the band members wanted to live in a drug and alcohol free reserve.

“What came out of that is a goal for our community to get to a place where we didn’t have drugs and alcohol in our community. That is a result of this extensive process… some of the people involved in this process were not the age of majority at the time. A number of people had been sober for years. Those voices count too. All the voices count,” she said.

“As a community we will be standing together to help each other get there.”

There are no plans to persecute people who do use alcohol and drugs, but if members know others are using substances illegally calling the RCMP might be an option, but that isn’t the preferred the method of dealing with the problem, Russell said.

“It’s about healing people not punishing people and providing supports,” she said, adding, “One is too many. There are problems in the City of Penticton. The social structure there alienates the users. We don’t want that. We just want our members to know that we care about them and we are ready to do what we can to help them. It’s a declaration that we are here for each other.”

The PIB plans to work with the Okanagan Nation Alliance and other agencies to address drug and alcohol misuse and encourage band and community members to not use.

Related: B.C. funds more overdose prevention in Indigenous communities

ORIGINAL:

In the wake of the loss of another band member, The Penticton Indian Band announced Friday afternoon it will be a drug and alcohol free reserve.

“To honour and respect each other we can no longer tolerate any illegal drugs being; sold or used, recreationally or habitually, within our boundaries. We will take every step necessary to protect our members. In the upcoming days weeks and months we will be bringing the families together and find ways to overcome the challenges we may face to support each other,”PIB Chief Chad Eneas stated in a press release.

In the press release it stated the community is currently grieving the loss of another member to the opioid and drug crisis.

During a recent Comprehensive Community Planning process the idea to become a dry reserve came through clearly from members.

“This is one of the priorities fully supported by the band council. Those that sell drugs to our members will be met with the full force of a community that is not willing to accept this behaviour and will use everything at its means to stop any and all drug activity in our community. The community and families have spoken loudly,” the release stated.

The PIB is working together with the Okanagan Nation Alliance and other partners to address the crisis.

Just Posted

Revelstoke City Council to look at updating Development Cost Charge Bylaw

City staff have been asked to present a plan on how to proceed

Revelstoke nordic skier travels to Russia for biathlon

Tayla Koerber skied for Team Canada at the international event

Avalanche control planned east of Revelstoke this afternoon

Highway 1 will be closed intermittently between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Revelstoke students raise funds for Women’s Shelter Society

The Me to We club at Columbia Park Elementary hosted a movie night

Temperatures on the rise for the Okanagan Valley

Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather update

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Kelowna DJs organize own shows to fill gap in music scene

The DJs wanted to create somewhere people could enjoy their music safely

In Photos: Classic snowmobiles pushed to their limits in fun races

The Burner in Malakwa served as the venue for races show cases older sleds

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Most Read