Police forces throughout Eeyou Istchee reported a relatively quiet holiday period this year, with only one gun offense and a lower-than-usual level of disturbances.
“It wasn’t as bad as it was in the past,” said Chisasibi police spokesperson Lyle Cox. “We didn’t have many calls to respond to this time. People were behaving and it was very quiet during the holidays.” Mistissini, by contrast, did experience a number of assault complaints -including one sexual assault – over the New Year’s celebrations. Police Chief Calvin Blacksmith said 17 files were opened January 1. There was also one firearm offense, though no one was injured or threatened in the incident. Blacksmith blames booze for the trouble. “I want to say to everyone pay more attention to your families and alcohol is not the solution,” he said.
In Eastmain, however, Willie Gunner said not a single new file was opened. “We organize a New Years celebration like the one held in Mistissini every Christmas. This is what kept the people busy.”
All quiet in Wemindji, as well, reports Elmer Georgekish. “Everybody enjoyed his or her time and nothing serious happened. We basically just received calls from people having too many parties, just the routine where there were too many people in the house and we had to get them out, dispersed everybody, nothing major.”
Community involvement was also the answer in Wapmagoostui, says Roger Sandy. “We organized a Christmas Festival, which kept everyone very busy. Not even one call was received at the station. Everyone was so happy even the police were participating in the games with their uniforms and socializing with the people. It was great to see that for a change. So I recommend all communities to do the same during the holidays you will see a big change.”
Joe Saganash in Waswanipi said his community had a quieter holiday than in the past. “Just a few files opened,” he said. “Mischief and assault but nothing serious.”
Waskaganish experienced a few alcohol-fueled fistfights, says Jimmy Hester. “Mostly it was a breach of peace where somebody gets into a fight and we have to detain that person in detention for a few hours to sober him up. Basically that’s what happened from 26th -27th. On New Year’s Day 22 files were opened, it was a very busy day; we received call after call on that day, mostly mischief, arrest for breach of peace, threats, assault on a police officer and impaired driving.” Meanwhile, George Gunner in Ouje-Bougoumou said his community was quiet also. “During Christmas no files were opened,” Gunner said. “But on New Year’s Day there was one attempted suicide, alcohol related. I would like to say to all the police officers in Eeyou Istchee I know it’s not easy what we try to do, we took these jobs to do them and we’re doing the best we can. We would like to thank the people of Ouje-Bougoumou for respecting what were trying to do and it’s not easy.”