Ross River Dena Council says RCMP check stop disrupted funeral preparations

·2 min read
A file photo of an RCMP officer checking a driver's licence during a check stop in Saskatchewan. Members of the Ross River Dena Council in Yukon are upset with the RCMP for conducting a check stop last Saturday that they say disrupted funeral preparations for a respected member of the community. (Submitted by RCMP - image credit)
A file photo of an RCMP officer checking a driver's licence during a check stop in Saskatchewan. Members of the Ross River Dena Council in Yukon are upset with the RCMP for conducting a check stop last Saturday that they say disrupted funeral preparations for a respected member of the community. (Submitted by RCMP - image credit)

An RCMP check stop in Ross River, Yukon, over the weekend is not sitting well with community members.

A member of the Ross River Dena Council (RRDC) said citizens are upset with the RCMP for conducting a check stop last Saturday on a road leading to a graveyard where preparations were taking place to hold a funeral for a respected citizen of the First Nation later that day.

"It was pretty invasive. It was pretty disrespectful," said Robby Dick, the former deputy chief of the RRDC.

He said he got a call from a citizen around 11 a.m. telling him RCMP officers were set up on the road leading into the cemetery, checking everyone's licences and registrations.

He said one citizen received a $150 ticket for having a registration that had expired four days previously.

Dick said the only people around that morning were First Nation citizens helping out with the preparations.

In an email to CBC News, RCMP said when they learned a funeral would be taking place later that day, they ended the check stop about 15 to 20 minutes later.

They said that over the 40 minutes they were set up, they stopped about 10 vehicles and issued three tickets.

"The goal of the check stops in the Faro/Ross River area was to ensure the safety of people attending the [annual Faro Crane and Sheep] festival or otherwise visiting the communities," the RCMP wrote in the email.

'There's no communication'

Dick said the community didn't receive any advance warning about the check stop.

"There's no communication. I mean it's frustrating," he said, adding the RCMP's conduct crossed boundaries.

He said the elder whose son had died was particularly upset.

"He was really mad that that was happening," he said.

Dick said he hopes the next time the RCMP decides to conduct a check stop in or near Ross River, that they contact the Ross River Dena Council and let it know.

"It'll be good if they were more transparent that way and show a little respect when we lose our members," he said.

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