EDITORIALS

Cycle of Violence on Bloodvein First Nation Apalling – Dysfunctional Community in Need of Intervention

JOHNSON FAMILY RESIDENCE (RCMP HANDOUT)
Johnson Family Residence – Bloodvein (RCMP Handout)

“Bloodshed besets Bloodvein.”

The story was a recent collaboration published in the Winnipeg Free Press by crime reporters Mike McIntyre & James Turner.  The article featured details regarding the disturbing deaths of Cliff Malnyk (52) and Timothy Goosehead (31) who were recently murdered on the Bloodvein First Nation.  

Malynk was killed on February 8, 2014, after RCMP responded to a house fire on the reservation.  His body was found inside the burned-out home around 2:30 a.m.  His daughter, Melanie Bushie (22), attended the burning residence and knocked on the door in her efforts to save her father.  Those efforts were thwarted after she was slashed with an edged weapon by one of two (2) suspects who fled from the blazing building.

Goosehead was killed on February 10, 2014, after being stabbed multiple times.  Although the motive for the attack is unclear, the story indicates Goosehead was recently released from jail after serving 303 days for assaulting a Bloodvein woman in March of 2013.  The victim, in that case, is reported to be a relative of the teen charged with his murder.

The teen, a seventeen (17) year old youth, with alleged gang associations, was charged with 2nd-degree murder in connection with both of the killings.  A fifteen (15) year old youth was charged with assault with a weapon in the Malnyk case.

The story raises many questions.

Questions about permissive violence, alcohol abuse, safety, parenting, leadership, adequate police resources and the role of a desensitized judiciary.

The story raises many questions. Questions about permissive violence, alcohol abuse, safety, parenting, leadership, adequate police resources and the role of a desensitized judiciary.

Bloodvein Chief Roland Hamilton told the Free Press poor parenting, abuse of alcohol and lack of police resources are contributory factors to the “recent” outburst of violence.  Hamilton advised the RCMP Detachment has run with only two (2) of the four (4) sworn members normally assigned to police the community.

The RCMP website indicates the Detachment is staffed by one (1) Corporal, three (3) Constables and one (1) public service employee.  The site also indicates approximately eight-hundred (800) First Nation people live on-reserve while approximately four-hundred-fifty (450) live off reserve.

I have a tremendous amount of sympathy and respect for the two (2) lonely police officers who’ve been trying to keep a lid on the violence.  I can’t even imagine the danger, lack of support or level of frustration they must experience on a daily basis.

The RCMP employ a community-based problem-solving approach on the reserve and have developed working groups that include:

  • Solvent Abuse Team
  • Alcohol Abuse Team
  • Suicide Intervention Team
  • CFS Team – focusing on issues of family stability, alcoholism, and abuse.

While inadequate policing, poor parenting and lack of on-reserve leadership may be contributing factors to the “recent” outburst of violence, is any of this new to the embattled community?

Half an hour of research on the internet tells a troubling story;

  • December 5, 1987, the deceased body of off-reserve Bloodvein resident Cheryl Duck (15) is found in a field near Ritchie Street in the City of Winnipeg.  Duck had suffered blunt force trauma that fractured her skull.  Hypothermia was also a contributing factor in her death.  Her murder remains unsolved.
  • March 1, 2003, off-reserve Bloodvein resident Patrick Hamilton (52) was stabbed to death at a drinking party in a suite at 145 Powers Street in Winnipeg.  An autopsy revealed he suffered a total of twenty-three (23) stab wounds to his chest, abdomen and lower back.  Charges against a suspect were dropped.
  • May 17, 2009, Bloodvein RCMP are dispatched to a home at 4;45 a.m. regarding a shooting.  On arrival, police locate a thirty-three (33) year old man suffering from a gunshot wound.  Police arrested Danielle Loraine Cook (18) and charged her with aggravated assault and discharge a firearm with intent in connection with the case.
  • June 27, 2009, Bloodvein RCMP respond to a request for assistance call and discover the body of Albert James Goosehead (12) who was the apparent victim of a violent baseball bat attack.  The cause of death was blunt force trauma.  Police arrested Tennessee Waylon Weedmark (18) and charged him with 2nd-degree murder.  Goosehead had just finished grade six and won awards for physical education and most improved student in his grade.
  • August 13, 2009, RCMP are dispatched to a complaint of a person lying on the road.  Upon arrival, police located the deceased body of Joshua Fisher (20) who died of blunt force trauma.  Police subsequently charged Charles Orvis (20) of Bloodvein with second-degree murder.
  • March 31, 2013, Bloodvein resident April Boulanger (30) kills her longtime boyfriend Russell George Hamilton (31) after an escalating domestic dispute.  Hamilton died as a result of suffering a single stab wound to the chest.  Hamilton had been convicted of assaulting Boulanger on two (2) previous occasions and had set fire to her home during one of the incidents.  Boulanger was charged with second-degree murder but plead guilty to manslaughter and received an apathetic sentence of two (2) years less a day.  A pre-sentence report was completed by a Probation Officer who indicated domestic violence was so commonplace in the community it had become “normalized” and residents “accept it as a fact of life.”

    A pre-sentence report was completed by a Probation Officer who indicated domestic violence was so commonplace in the community it had become “normalized” and residents “accept it as a fact of life.”

  • May 29, 2013, two (2) year old Jason Johnson was playing in a neighbor’s yard with several friends when he was attacked by a Rottweiler.  The boy suffered extensive injuries to his face and required plastic surgery.  RCMP members subsequently destroyed the vicious animal.  No responsible adults could be located at the residence where the dog lived.
  • June 6, 2013, the Johnson family home was torched in what the victims believe was a retaliatory strike launched by people associated with the deceased canine.  Two (2) girls aged twelve (12) and fourteen (14) were subsequently charged with arson.  The incident was the sixth (6th) arson reported in the community at that time.
  • In 2012, there were eight (8) arson cases reported in Bloodvein.

The McIntyre / Turner report indicates that more than twenty (20) RCMP Officers were dispatched to the reserve to continue the investigation into the deaths of Malnyk & Goosehead.  There can be no doubt that part of their mandate is to quell the abhorrent violence that continues to affect the community.

The question needs to be asked, is the increased RCMP presence a half measure or short-term experiment?

There can be no doubt that serious, long-term intervention is required to change the permissive violence affecting the Bloodvein community.  The RCMP do not own that responsibility but certainly must be catalysts for change.  While I commend Chief Hamilton for recognizing some of the contributory problems I haven’t heard anything from him regarding an action plan to improve safety and security for his people.

The people who live on these reserves deserve better from the police, the Judiciary, the Government, Social Agencies and their political leadership.  It’s apparent the quality of life for people living in the Bloodvein community is not comparable to the quality of life for people living the Canadian dream in the rest of our Province.

For far too many people, the unfortunate fate of being born on the Bloodvein First Nation is the equivalent of receiving a death sentence.

One thing is certain, this kind of violence and dysfunction would never be tolerated in middle class, mainstream Canada.

And that’s the truth.


Update:

January 31, 2019

RCMP issued a media release reporting a double homicide in Bloodvein.

On January 30, 2019, at 4:00 a.m., Bloodvein RCMP responded to a report of two (2) deceased men located at a residence in Bloodvein.

Police report a twenty-two (22) year old man and a thirty-two (32) year of man, both from Bloodvein, were pronounced deceased at the scene.

The release indicates the RCMP are treating the deaths as homicides.

Nothing further has been released.

It seems violence continues to be an issue in the community.


Update II

February 4, 2019

RCMP Media Release

RELATED LINKS:

The Police Insider – “Murder & Soft Justice – A Fact of Life?”

 The Winnipeg Free Press – McIntyre & Turner “Bloodshed besets Bloodvein”

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16 Comments

  1. Thank you Charlene for clarifying James G Jewell “proud of you”

  2. James G Jewell

    Charlene;

    It seems this story has grown legs lately and is being shared by a lot of people who live or lived in Bloodvein.

    I’m getting quite a bit of angry messages that we’ve unfairly characterized Bloodvien as a “bad place.”

    The purpose of the story was to highlight the lack of resources provided to the community that might be impacting public safety.

    It’s a matter of record that grossly disproportionate violence has occurred and still seems to be occurring in Bloodveiwn.

    The historical facts highlighted in the article support that.

    That’s not to say there aren’t good people and good things happening in Bloodvein.

    It’s our hope that something can be done to quell the violence.

    Thank you for sharing your concerns.

  3. Charlene Greene

    Can I get your email? I am from Bloodvein and would like to send you a letter. This article portrays my home as a very negative place to be. How do those police know when they don’t even speak to us, and when they do, they don’t listen. I have heard 5 of them laugh at people here in the community with the comment “Wouldn’t it be funny if they tipped over” when it was 2 men speeding in a jeep, why didn’t they follow them, to stop them? Instead they laughed, so I guess cleaning up an “Indian” off the ground is better than doing paper work to arrest them, to keep us safe as that is supposed to be their jobs. Its ridiculous how you all portray us, we did not grow up in little towns, cities, municipalities, etc. So, I ask, how would they or you know how it is to live with our running water in this day and age, to have addicted parents because there too, we are cut off. We grew up in a where we were placed with other TOOK our lands.

  4. James G Jewell

    Kat;

    The article was intended to expose the permissive violence, alcohol abuse, desensitized judiciary and lack of leadership and adequate police resources the community of Bloodvein experiences.

    What you see as blame I see as a factual accounting of issues that face the community.

    It’s really not up to me to come up with the proper solutions but I think the article infers the kind of change needed to improve life & safety in the community.

    Appreciate your thoughts, thank you for commenting.

  5. This is a weird article. If there is a problem send more RCMP and nurses? There is a budget. Schools get significantly lower funding on reserve and there is no economic and social growth.

    There are many violent places all over the world and we use our minds to combat violence not tell people how fucked up they are.

    Weird article, come up with proper solutions and chuck this blame game article.

  6. Minerva Johnson

    Sooner or later, everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming the past, or other people.

  7. Hello James, I dont know who you are but I do believe most of what you had written was true I am related to Timothy Goosehead he was my uncle & I strongly agree that this type of dysfunctionality would never be tolerated in the middle class I’ve lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba for a long time before coming here and seeing the difference is just outstanding I once ran to the police covered in blood and was denied any medical attention as a person of Bloodvein I’m not proud of the actions the community goes through on a daily basis but I am proud of my people and we try to strive for better even in the current judicial state the community is I believe alot more needs to be done as a community and a whole.

  8. bloodveiner and a proud to be one

    You guys are all whacked, this what happens when genocide came in the past, most of them are people from or affected from residential schools and losing loved ones from alcohol that was given too us, and the people who can’t be parents because of mental state problems from their parents, people would know this if they lived there their whole life, in that case me

  9. I just left Bloodvein , they are all f@$&ed up out there!!

  10. James G Jewell

    Hey Me…

    Thank you for the update….

  11. Danielle Cook is my cousin. Apparently self defence.

  12. James G Jewell

    Thank you Derek….appreciate the input and feedback…

  13. I’ve mentioned safety committee to the Chief and Council. No avail. It’s all about the votes. They let any criminal regardless of the crime return there with no questions asked.
    Great article James.

  14. I’m from bloodvein fn, and yes the community does have a bad rep. It’s great that you wrote this in an attempt to let the province know the third world exists here also.

  15. James G Jewell

    Thank you Kelley…..

  16. So very well written James, and so very true .

    thanks,

    Kelley.

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