By Shari Narine
A violent murder on Six Nations of the Grand River on Wednesday could have organizers of the upcoming Ontario Aboriginal Summer Games reconsidering their host nation.
“It’s a discussion that still needs to be had,” said Wesley Marsden, with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council.
The games, organized by ASWCO, is scheduled to take place July 19 to July 21 co-hosted by Six Nations and Brantford.
On June 1, the Six Nations Police Service responded to a report of shots fired at a residence on First Line Road. Officers arrived to find a grey GMC Yukon that appeared to have been shot up and three males, each suffering from gunshot wounds.
Ashton VanEvery, 16, died after being airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital. A second male was also airlifted to hospital, where he is listed in serious but stable condition. The third victim refused hospital treatment.
Investigators determined that the three males had been at a residence in the area of Chiefswood Road and First Line Road, where an altercation had occurred resulting in the three victims being shot.
Investigators identified the suspects involved in the shooting and after discussion with family members, the suspects turned themselves into police in the evening. Charged with first degree murder are Dwight Ronald Walton (19), Kenneth Paul Appleton (24) and Irvin Allan Maracle (56). They will remain in custody pending a formal bail hearing.
Such violence is not common, said Cindy Thomas, who is putting the final touches on the annual Tom Longboat Run, to take place on Saturday on Six Nations. The Tom Longboat Run attracts mostly local participants, ranging from 200 to 400 people, although some off-the-reserve participation does happen.
Thomas says neither the shooting, nor cancelling the event, were discussed at the morning’s organizational meeting.
“We’re good to go,” she said.
This type of violence is not an indication of life on the Six Nation, she said. “This is something definitely out of the ordinary.”
Marsden would not speculate if discussion on the upcoming games could include re-location from Six Nations.
“I’m not too sure, honestly. That would be a question for my managers,” he said.
Marsden’s managers were not available.
Five of the seven events for the Ontario Aboriginal Summer Games are scheduled for Six Nations. The games are for Aboriginal athletes ages 13 to 18 and provide athletes with development and competition opportunities to prepare them for 2017 North American Indigenous Games.