July 24th, 2024

Smudging ceremony precedes sentencing for man charged in powwow stabbing


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on June 28, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Kainai man charged after a violent stabbing at a peace powwow in Lethbridge last year, had hoped he could avoid jail when he was sentenced Thursday in Lethbridge court of justice.

Dylan Brave Rock, who had previously pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated assault, was counting on the judge accepting a defence recommendation for either a jail sentence between four and six months, or an 18-month conditional sentence, which typically comprises a combination of house arrest and curfew.

The Crown, on the other hand, had recommended a custodial sentence of two years, plus two years of probation.

Justice Grace Auger didn’t accept either recommendation, however.

“I’ve taken into account all the mitigating and aggravating factors,” Auger said. “I’ve also considered the broad range of sentencing for aggravated assault, and based on all of the above, I have concluded that a custodial sentence followed by probation would satisfy the needs of justice.

“I am satisfied that a period of incarceration is required, and I have determined that to be one year of custody, followed by one year of probation.”

Brave Rock, 23, had attended the 2023 International Peace Pow-Wow at the Enmax Centre on Feb. 26. Paxton Day Chief, the “new” boyfriend of Brave Rock’s ex-partner, was also at the powwow, and bad blood between the two men led to a fight.

“At some point Dylan pulled out a knife and stabbed Paxton in the abdomen,” Auger said.

Auger said she considered several mitigating factors in her sentencing decision, including Brave Rock’s early guilty plea, his lack of criminal record, his remorse and his personal circumstances and aboriginal background outlined in a Gladue report.

“This was way out of character for Mr. Brave Rock.”

However, Auger said an aggravating aspect of the case is that Brave Rock was armed when he went to the powwow.

“Mr. Brave Rock did bring a knife with him, and this whole incident took place in a public place – International Peace Pow-Wow – and it also happened in front of his own child.”

Auger noted that the victim sustained serious injuries which required surgery and 11 days in the hospital.

Moments before Brave Rock was sentenced, Blood Tribe Elder Roger Prairie Chicken performed a smudging ceremony in the courtroom. First Nations believe the smoke from the burning herbs can purify the physical space, objects, and individuals by dispelling negative energies, thoughts, and emotions. It is believed to cleanse the body, mind, and spirit, promoting balance and harmony.

“We have to learn by our mistakes and learn to move forward in life,”├é┬áPrairie Chicken said following the ceremony. “Remember, we all make mistakes in this world; there’s nobody that’s perfect.”

He urged the families of Brave Rock and Day Chief to “find some kind of restitution for each other,” acknowledging that everyone needs to live together and respect each other.

“Everything will be okay.”

Although sentenced to one year in jail, Brave Rock was given credit for time spent in remand custody, leaving him with a sentence of about four months. While on probation following his release from custody, he is prohibited from contacting Day Chief and he must be assessed and take grief counselling and counselling and treatment for substance abuse, life skills, anger management and parenting.

He is also prohibited from possessing certain weapons for 10 years, and others for life, and he must submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Data Bank.

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