Elder Albert Taylor of Sioux Valley First Nation, Chief Frank Brown of the Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation, Chief Orville Smoke of the Dakota Plains First Nation and Coun. Craig Blacksmith of the Dakota Plains First Nation take part in the grand opening of the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop on Highway 2 east of Pipestone in November 2011. That shop has since closed but a new one has apparently been set up in Sioux Valley.
The Dakota Ojibway Police Service won’t hesitate to bust an illegal smoke shop in Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, says a spokesman.
DOPS Insp. Marc Saindon said the police force will respond to any information they receive or obtain about a possible illegal smoke shop.
He also confirmed that a file has already been started after a representative from the community brought concerns to the detachment.
"It is under investigation as we speak, but it is still too fresh to comment on," Saindon said.
DOPS, who police five First Nations communities in Manitoba, have six officers in Sioux Valley, but Saindon wouldn’t comment on how many officers are working the case.
A spokesman for Manitoba Department of Finance also said they will remain diligent in keeping illegal cigarettes from being sold in the province.
"The possession and sale of non-Manitoba ‘marked’ tobacco products are illegal and are dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Tobacco Tax Act," the spokesman said. "The Act applies to all tobacco sales on- and off-reserve, by both aboriginal owned and non-aboriginal owned businesses. Finance officials will be working in concert with police to take appropriate action."
The response comes after Craig Blacksmith of the Dakota Plains First Nation told the Sun last month that a temporary shop has already been set up and is selling cigarettes in Sioux Valley.
Blacksmith, who was one of the major players in the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop and Gaming Centre, that opened in November 2011 near Pipestone and has since been shut down, said a storefront in Sioux Valley should be coming soon.
The shop and the sale of illegal cigarettes, according to Chief Vince Tacan, is something he and his council oppose.
Last month, Tacan also called on the RCMP to help combat the problem.
"We hope the RCMP do whatever they need to do to prevent the continuation of illegal activity in our community," Tacan said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 8, 2013