The community of Eastmain continues the healing process in the wake of a shooting incident that saw the SWAT team summoned to help bring in two boys aged 10 and 11. The boys, who shot at other youths and police officers before taking flight in a stolen canoe, have undergone psychiatric evaluations. The assessment is that they will both need further evaluation before being allowed to return to the community. One boy has been sent to Mistissini, while the other has been sent to Chisasibi, according to Chief Edward Gilpin.
Meetings have been held between public security officers and officials from the Wabannutao School. While the school, with a student population of 190, was only closed for one day following the incident, the after-effects have been traumatic for students and staff members alike. The possibility exists that the boys might be allowed to return to the school after they have been fully evaluated. Some students have said that they won’t go to the school if the two boys are allowed back.
One official at the school, who wished to remain anonymous, felt that it would be some time yet before things return to normal. The official said that a school psychologist is being brought in to talk to the students. Other steps being taken involve trying to get a guidance counsellor and elders to help the traumatized students. Chief Gilpin, emphasizing his stand on more responsible gun safety, spoke of the need to make sure all residents have proper, secure cases in which to store guns and ammunition. Asked what measures can be taken in terms of legal responsibility, Chief Gilpin suggested that the Band would have to formulate with a lawyer on how to re-draft a by-law. The complicated question of jurisdiction and the criminal code requires closer examination.