First Nations fury over child killer McClintic: 'We have children in our community'
October 4, 2018
October 4, 2018 1:25 PM EDT
Terri-Lynne McClintic is taken out of Woodstock court in handcuffs on May 20, 2009. (Postmedia files)
Child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic isn’t welcome at the healing lodge that sits on Nekaneet First Nation land, band members say.
McClintic’s transfer from a medium-security prison in Ontario to the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge in Saskatchewan has triggered national outrage.
And local band members are furious as well that they were not consulted and only recently learned the child killer was nearby.
There are no fences at the healing lodge and over the years, there have been a number of escapes.
“When you have cases like this that are this horrendous it is a safety concern for everybody because we have children in our community and I know that there are some mothers out there in our community that are absolutely concerned for their children,” band member Cherish Francis told CKOM News Talk Radio.
The Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge in Saskatchewan where child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic was controversially transferred. SUBMITTED
The Woodstock murderer — who may not even be Indigenous — was convicted in the brutal first-degree kidnapping and sex slaying Tori Stafford in 2009.
Tori was just eight years old. McClintic was sentenced to life with no parole for 25 years.
But even after a jailhouse assault in 2016, McClintic got the green light after just eight years to be sent to a healing lodge last December.
Francis — who is a spokeswoman for the band –added that members are furious they weren’t consulted.
She told CKOM local elders once had a say in who would be allowed to transfer to the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge.
Victoria “Tori” Stafford, 8, from Woodstock was murdered by McClintic and her boyfriend. SUBMITTED
But all that changed.
“They would travel during the interview process for some of these inmates that were looking to transfer to the facility,” Francis said.
“It was cut six years ago and since then we’ve had no say as to who comes out of the healing lodge and that is really concerning as a band member.”
The lodge has been a part of the community for 23 years and some inmates have participated in Native ceremonies with band elders.
While the band was under no illusion that inmates at the lodge have done some despicable things, McClintic is beyond the pale.
“In my opinion, if the elders were there in the intake process, I believe that McClintic wouldn’t be in our community right now because they would have screened her out and said her crime is too horrendous to come to our community,” Francis said.
“But they didn’t have that opportunity.”
Chief Alan Francis shared the same concerns in another interview with CKOM.
If elders had been involved in the process, there would have been a different outcome.
Cherish Francis also said she was worried that the Ontario child killer could derail the work the — already misunderstood — healing lodges do.
The true purpose is to reduce the high incarceration rate of Indigenous people, she said.