Vandalism and theft at a healing camp on the Abegweit First Nation in Scotchfort, P.E.I., have left the chief and members of the community disappointed and disheartened.
The camp, tucked in the woods at the back of the Scotchfort reserve, was opened last month to provide cultural teachings and leadership skills, and to help members of the Mi'kmaw community connect to their past.
Anything with monetary value was stolen, said Chief Roddy Gould Jr., including a wood chipper, tools, patio heaters, mosquito repellent equipment and propane tanks.
"My wife and I have been involved with the community for a long time and we've never had anything like this happen to us. So it's kind of a disheartening day, to say the least. It's not the monetary value that made it disappointing. It was that we felt as a community that someone had violated the trust in the community."
Gould said he hopes it wasn't a member of the First Nation, but it's possible the person responsible is the kind of person the camp is designed to help.
"I believe in people and I believe in my community. But I think this just shows how the need for these kind of supplemental services do fill the gaps, because there are a lot of people that are suffering and there's a lot of needs and wants."
Police are investigating the thefts, which occurred while Gould was away in British Columbia.
Gould is asking anybody with information to reach out to him or to the RCMP.
In the meantime, he has started rebuilding the camp.
"I think the community is very frustrated, you know, kind of in the sense that, 'Why would you do this to us?'" he said.
"If somebody needed those monetary items more than we did, then more power to them. And we're going to pick up our socks and keep moving forward because we think it's a great program."