Statement on the tragedy at James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon

The tragic acts of violence this past weekend at James Smith Cree Nation and the village of Weldon will have a profound impact on our province and our country.

Like all communities in Saskatchewan and beyond, we are grieving. Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected. The days, weeks and months ahead will be difficult, and we will need to support one another to get through this extremely challenging time. It is part of Saskatchewan’s community fabric to come together during times like this, and we will be there for each other.

We send our support to the Indigenous Elders and leaders and many others who are focused on the response to these events. Flags on our campuses have been lowered to half-mast.

The University of Saskatchewan will offer support to students, staff, and faculty who have connections to James Smith Cree Nation.

During this critical time, the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre will serve as a safe gathering space for members of the campus community, beginning Tuesday morning. We are working to ensure that culturally appropriate services are available through Elders and wellness staff.  Food and refreshments will also be available. Everyone is welcome. 

Out of respect for these communities and for the fact that the situation remains an emergency, large campus gatherings outside of usual operations, including some USSU Welcome Week events planned in The Bowl for Tuesday, September 6, will be postponed. This situation will be assessed over the next 24 hours as more information becomes available.

In the meantime, please use extra caution, and always be aware of your surroundings while on campus. Additional security patrols have been mobilized throughout campus as this incident is being addressed by RCMP and local law enforcement. Please think carefully about being alone in a space on campus for work or study purposes. Consider making use of spaces such as the libraries on campus where several people are gathered. Remember that Protective Services is available 24/7 if you would like to request a walk to assist you in reaching your parked car or some other location on campus. Call (306) 966-5555 to make this request. If there are further updates, we will provide them as they are available.

I encourage everyone to take care of themselves during this difficult time. As the search for the accused in this case continues, fear and uncertainty remain, and it is especially important to be aware of the many resources available to the USask community.

Student Support

  • Student Affairs and Outreach has a team of social workers who can provide immediate support. You can speak with a member of the team by calling (306) 966-5757 or emailing and requesting to speak with an outreach co-ordinator.
  • The Student Wellness Centre offers a range of supports including physical and mental health care. To make an appointment, call (306) 966-5768
  • Aboriginal Student Centre (ASC) supports Indigenous student academic and personal success through a wide variety of programs and services including social and cultural programing (including Elder support), health and wellness, academic support, and recognition events.  The ASC can be reached at 306-966-5790 or email at

Faculty and Staff Support

  • LifeWorks, USask’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, offers a wide range of services including free and confidential counseling, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • MindBeacon offers virtual mental health support.
  • For eligible employees, your benefit plan covers mental health supports including clinical counsellors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers.

As we continue to come to terms with the grief and shock of this tragedy, the USask community offers our deepest sympathies to the many who are mourning.

Peter Stoicheff
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Saskatchewan