The Kashechewan First Nation has introduced a Peacekeepers Program to combat the overflow of alcohol entering into their community.
The Peacekeepers, made up of community volunteers, will have authority to inspect anyone for alcohol in all luggage and vehicles that enter the community.
Newly-elected Chief Oliver Wesley said he is pursuing this issue because of the growing community concern about alcohol consumption and related problems. “It’s a direction from the community,” said Chief Wesley. “The concerns of the community were stated before the recent Chiefs election, that the community wanted whoever got in as Chief to work on this issue.” lie said the Chief and Council will be enforcing a bylaw under the Indian Act which makes Kashechewan a dry reserve. “The courts recognize that our reserve is a dry reserve, and we can charge anyone and intervene where there is alcohol involved,” he said.
Chief Wesley said in recent months people have been transporting alcohol on the winter road, which is very accessible to Moosonee’s liquor store.
The Peacekeepers will only have authority within the reserve boundaries to search anyone coming into town through the airport and winter road.
The Peacekeepers will be working with the Nishnawbe Policing Service for protection and back-up in incidents involving firearms or under any dangerous situations.
Currently there are 30 volunteers and the band is working on guidelines and duties for the Peacekeepers. This program will be organized in the same manner as the Peacekeepers in Attawapiskat, now in existence for two years.