A resident of La Loche, Saskatchewan, pays his respects on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 to the victims of a Friday school shooting. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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The remote, northern Canadian community where a shooter killed four people and injured seven Friday has long struggled under the weight of poverty, high suicide rates and disadvantages that most of the country can hardly imagine. The isolated town of La Loche, in the western province of Saskatchewan, and its neighboring Clearwater River Dene Indian reserve, six hours away from the nearest airport, embody the dire prospects for Canada's Aboriginals, also known as First Nations.Unemployment stands above 20 percent in the community, suicide and addiction rates are high, homes are overcrowded and family violence is rife in the community which is mostly Metis, a culture with French and Aboriginal roots.Canada's new premier Justin Trudeau in December promised a new "nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples" and an inquiry into the high rates of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.Still, Aboriginal communities will ask hard questions about gun security after the shooting, said Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Bobby Cameron, who represents more than 70 Indian bands in the province.
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