“She is not a victim, but a hero! » | Knife attacks in Saskatchewan

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“”She”s not a victim, but a heroïne!” | Knife attacks in Saskatchewan

Bonnie Burns was one of nine people murdered in the James Smith Cree Nation of Saskatchewan.

Mark Arcand shows a photo of his sister, Bonnie Burns, and himself, calling this one- ci of heroin because, according to him, she sacrificed her life to save her children.

For an hour and a half, Mark Arcand, the brother of Bonnie Burns, one of the victims of the knife attacks that occurred on Sunday, in Saskatchewan, spoke at a press conference, surrounded by family members. He spoke at length about his sister, a loving mother who was always ready to help others, who died trying to protect her children.

“We are broken, but we are not defeated.

— Mark Arcand, brother of Bonnie Burns

A lot of people are wondering what happened, but honestly, we don't know, explained the one who is also the chief of the Saskatoon Tribal Council, but wants his title to be put aside for the time being. .

A photo of his wedding with Brian Burns, another with his brother Mark, a photo of the couple, of his son Gregory… In front of them, Mark Arcand and Brian Burns are depositing, in silence, various portraits of Bonnie and Gregory, both swept away in this horrible and senseless act, as Mark Arcand calls it.

Bonnie Burns, born Bonnie Lee Goodvoice in the Dakota Nation, was 48 years old. Thirty years ago, his path crossed that of Brian Burns, a Cree from the James Smith community, and they had been together ever since.

Brian Burns posts photos of his wife, Bonnie, who died in the attack on Sunday .

But it was alone, now without his lifelong accomplice, that Brian Burns, white shirt with red and white ribbons and feathered hat on his head, appeared in front of the media. And opted for silence.

So Mark Arcand is telling the story. He talks about the couple's four children, the two children raised in foster care, the grandparents. They especially liked to laugh together, says Bonnie's brother.

At his side, his brother-in-law smiles, the look that seems to be in his memories, turned to these happy moments with his wife. Laughing is part of the healing process, says Mark Arcand when told of anecdotes that elicit very brief smiles to quickly give way to sadness and pain.

She always put others first, continues Mark Arcand.

Around the table, Brian Burns, but also Bonnie's father, Chuck Goodvoice, and a friend, Shawn Burns, nod in silence. This is how I want people to remember her.

Bonnie took care of her children like a mother bear, says Mark Arcand , worked at school, told a lot of jokes, and contributed a lot to the James Smith community where she did a lot of volunteer work.

“C& #x27;was a person who made the lives of others better.

—Mark Arcand, brother of Bonnie Burns

Gregory Burns, 28, was the father of two children. A third was about to be born. Job opportunities presented themselves to one who had also worked in the community building houses.

He did everything he could for his family. He tried to help his mother and father and take care of his three brothers, says his uncle.

Bonnie Burns, during her marriage fifteen years ago to Brian Burns.

Showing these photos, showing family reunions, when they were laughing is a way to remember, says Mark, to remember who they were and start the journey to healing, a journey that will take time.

I still feel like it's a nightmare. It doesn't seem real!

Sunday morning, the day of the crime, Mark Arcand is still sleeping when his phone starts ringing. Alerts are raining down. A relative asks him to call him back. He then learns of the drama that is being played out in the James Smith Cree community, near Prince Albert.

Everything seems to have happened between six and seven in the morning, says- it.

He then jumps into his car, alone, to get to James Smith. It's the longest two hours of his life, and he doesn't know what to expect. But the hardest part happens.

What traumatized me the most was the scene. Brian and I watched the family lying down, and there was nothing we could do. It's probably the hardest thing to experience, to see, that I don't wish on anyone, he says with a barely contained emotion.

Relatives of the family of Bonnie and Gregory Burns, very moved, during the conference of press.

Her voice breaks from time to time during her story, a few tissues bear witness to discreet tears.

Her first reaction was to want to hug his sister and nephew, to touch them, but he couldn't. No one could.

Bonnie Burns was stabbed outside her home.

“She was protecting her son, the three little boys. This is why she is a heroine, a true matriarch.

—Mark Adams

It looks like Gregory Burns was killed in the house. His brothers aged 9, 11 and 13 witnessed the horror, the awakening, one of them taking refuge behind a high chair. The 13-year-old was stabbed in the neck. Traumatized, he is very angry.

Then they had to leave the house, passing, according to what Mark Arcand thinks, in front of their mother, their brother and another woman, a innocent woman who came to help,s then killed in the driveway of the house.

These four hours have been the longest of my life, trying to make sense of what is happening, to understand why. Those who know are not here to tell the story, he continues. But the story is that we have three children who survived this horrible trauma.

Our family, our community, climbs a mountain, and the mountain is devastation.

Times are hard, as Mark Arcand repeats. People tell us they understand, but it's impossible. Then, he looks at the children of Bonnie and Brian Burns who are seated in front of him, attending his press conference.

“When I think about the future, my sister, our family members, they want us to move forward. ”

— Mark Arcand

It means having answers, maybe one day, to move forward in healing. But, for now, Mark Arcand says he doesn't want to point fingers, blame or look at people. We just need to remember those who have been victims of a serious crime that affects our family.

Moment of emotion and tenderness during the press conference with the families of the victims.

Mark Arcand has announced that a crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help the family of Bonnie Burns. The family members left the house in a hurry, leaving everything behind, not knowing when or if they would ever be able to return. Children also need psychological help, he said.

From what he knows, children want to stay in the community, back to school. We want to be there to support them, but we are going to help them build a future and that's important because we want them to have a good quality of life like all of us.

Indigenous communities, towns and villages showed their solidarity and offered their help.

Brian Burns and his brother-in-law, Mark Arcand, had a few brief moments of laughter when reminiscing about Bonnie who loved family gatherings and making people laugh.

Heal, yes, but never forget, repeats Mark Arcand. And that we carry love in our hearts, compassion, that we are united and thinking of others.

On September 4, 2022, Damien and Myles Sanderson are suspected of having attacked stabbing people in the James Smith Cree Nation and in the village of Weldon, killing 10 people.

Myles Sanderson, the last living suspect in this case, has been apprehended.

The body of the second suspect, Damien Sanderson, was discovered Monday in a grassy area in the James Smith Cree community near one of 13 crime scenes.

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