Chief takes stand against violence

Okanagan Indian Band’s Byron Louis says all levels of government need to enter into a discussion about violence against women

The chief of the Okanagan Indian Band is calling for a united response to violence against women.

Byron Louis says all levels of government, including bands and municipal councils, need to enter into a discussion with social agencies and residents about violence against women.

“We need to talk about it and acknowledge it’s reality and it all starts in the home,” he said.

“Every facet of our society has a role to play.”

One role the band could possibly focus on is expanded mental health services.

Louis would like to see increased awareness promoted in schools as a way of breaking the cycle of violence.

“The silent witness to all of this domestic violence is kids and they become adults. They may habituate what they see,” he said.

“We need children to understand that what they’re seeing isn’t normal behaviour.”

He is also calling on parents to have a conversation with their children.

“I’ve always told my daughters that if a man hits you once, he will hit you again.”

While an inquiry is currently looking into missing and murdered indigenous women across Canada, Louis insists violence against women crosses all cultures.

“There is no one demographic that is immune.”

Presently, RCMP continue to search a Silver Creek property where human remains have been found.

RCMP confirm the remains are those of missing 18-year-old Traci Genereaux, from Vernon.

The Silver Creek property is owned by the family of Curtis Sagmoen, who RCMP have not connected to the discovery of the remains.

Sagmoen is currently being held in custody on charges stemming from an Aug. 27 incident in the Falkland area. He is charged with the following: disguising face with the intent to commit offence, intentionally discharging a firearm while reckless, uttering threats, careless use or storage of a firearm, possessing a weapon for dangerous purpose and possession of controlled substance. His next court appearance is set for Nov. 23 in Vernon.

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