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Northern First Nation using hockey arena as makeshift jail

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A northern Manitoba First Nation says it has had to detain rowdy persons in a dressing room of a hockey arena because the Mounties won’t provide it with keys to their cells.

MKO Grand Chief David Harper told a news conference in Winnipeg today that the situation at Northlands Denesuline First Nation in Lac Brochet is symptomatic of a "crisis" in policing in northern First Nations.

Harper said Justice Minister Andrew Swan and the RCMP have been aware since June of the ongoing problems in Lac Brochet, where a total of four individuals have been temporarily chained to a concrete floor in the Northlands Arena. The community didn’t have access to the RCMP cell block.

The RCMP has facilities, but no officers, in the community. Harper said about half of Manitoba’s 30 northern First Nations do not have an RCMP presence.

First Nation leaders say training for northern band constables is lacking. In Lac Brochet, there are no band constables certified by the provincial Justice Department, only band security.

Northern chiefs are also upset that they were shut out of talks leading to a new agreement between the RCMP and the province this past March.

History

Updated on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 1:27 PM CDT: adds photo

3:48 PM: corrected reference in second-last paragraph to read "band constables"

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