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Community reels from grandson's murder charge in Bernard death

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  • Don
    ... From: RUSSELL DIABO To: Undisclosed-Recipient:; @invalid.domain Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2008 6:13 AM Subject: Community reels from grandson s murder
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2008
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      ----- Original Message -----
      To: "Undisclosed-Recipient:;"@...
      Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2008 6:13 AM
      Subject: Community reels from grandson's murder charge in Bernard death

      Published: 2008-01-02
      Community reels from grandson's murder charge in Bernard death

      Native activist to be buried today


      MILLBROOK � As family, friends and admirers gather today for the funeral of Nora Bernard, the woman many call a kind and gentle Mi�kmaq warrior, there is shock that her grandson has been charged with first-degree murder in her death.

      "At the start, there was a lot of grief, a lot of fear," said Lloyd Johnson, a senior band councillor with the Millbrook First Nation.

      "Today, it�s a lot of hurt. There�s not a lot of anger."

      A funeral mass for Ms. Bernard, the mother of six, grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of five who was murdered in her Truro home two days after Christmas, will be held at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Millbrook at 11 a.m.

      Well-known to natives and non-natives as a gentle, determined woman who believed in justice and equality, Ms. Bernard is best known for waging a relentless battle to gain recognition and compensation for those who were survivors of the so-called Indian residential school system.

      Ms. Bernard�s 32-year-old son found her battered body shortly before 3 a.m. last Thursday on the kitchen floor of her Willow Street home. She had been stabbed and suffered what police describe as blunt force trauma to the face.

      The son lived with his mother and had returned home after visiting friends.

      Shock over Ms. Bernard�s death deepened even more when police charged her grandson Monday with first-degree murder.

      James Douglas Gloade, 24, of Millbrook cried as sheriff�s deputies led him into Truro provincial court for arraignment Monday morning. He stared at the floor and occasionally rubbed his bloodshot eyes and face with his hands. The court appearance lasted two minutes. He didn�t speak or enter a plea and will remain in custody until his next court date Monday.

      Mr. Gloade has a criminal record for assault, uttering death threats and numerous breaches of court orders. At the time of his arrest on Friday, he was serving a six-month conditional sentence in the community for uttering a threat and breaching a court order.

      Police identified Mr. Gloade as a person of interest early in the investigation. He was arrested at the Pictou Landing First Nation on an unrelated warrant the day after his grandmother�s body was found, and he was taken to Truro for questioning.

      "From this interview, information was obtained which led to the current charge," said Chief David MacNeil of Truro police.

      "This was a very unfortunate tragedy," the chief said.

      "I can only imagine what the family is going through, to lose the matriarch of the family and a strong person like Nora Bernard and then to have a grandson charged with the crime."

      Although the motive for the killing was not yet clear to police, robbery was not suspected. Nothing appeared to be missing from the home, there were no signs of forced entry and police aren�t pursuing any other suspects.

      "Through our investigation, it is believed that drugs may have been a factor in the crime, not a motivating factor," Chief MacNeil said.

      It had been speculated that Ms. Bernard may have been a target as she had recently received a compensation cheque from the federal government, but the police chief downplayed that theory.

      As a survivor of the Shubenacadie residential school, Ms. Bernard was fully aware of the harmful effects that residential schools had on generations of native children. The determined Mi�kmaq woman launched the first class-action lawsuit for residential school survivors in 1996, and other groups across the country joined in.

      The end product of her determination was a national compensation package that could be worth close to $5 billion for the 70,000 to 80,000 former students who are still living. The church-run schools operated from the 1870s to the 1970s.

      A Halifax group called Restoring Dignity is calling on political, religious and social leaders to attend Ms. Bernard�s funeral today to pay their respects to the activist and to First Nations communities affected by residential schools.

      Roch Longueepee, who heads up the international organization working on behalf of children abused in institutions, said community leaders must show support for those who still grapple with the legacy of residential schools.

      ( cvonkintzel@...)

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