Another Canadian church burns, Native councilor indicates arson
Yet another church has burned to the ground in Canada.

Jeremiah Church

December 18, 2023

After two churches were already set on fire earlier this month, another was set ablaze on Friday night, razing the building to the ground.

Another Canadian church burns, Native councilor indicates arson

At about 10:30 p.m. on December 15th, the Wood Buffalo RCMP arrived at the St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Janvier Alberta — about 120 kilometers south of Fort McMurray —  where the church was fully engulfed in flames. 

Police say witnesses reported a silver sedan driving away from the church at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the RCMP.  However, some have reason to believe the fire could be a result of arson.

Arson indicated by Native councilor 

In a video released on Facebook, councilor Shane Janvier of the Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation said the fire was a result of arson.

“We’re treaty Indians here that belong to this nation, this band, this community,” Janvier said, further adding, “If we’re going to make statements that this is our land, we’re going to fight for this land, then we’d better damn well learn to respect this land.”

Janvier expressed his frustration with the incident, saying that the church was home to several of the community’s baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

 “Enough is enough,” he said.

“These church buildings belong to the First Nations band that they are on”

Bishop Gary Franken of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Paul said the church that was burned was an older one that had already been replaced, which stands nearby. 

Franken indicated the new church was undamaged.  

“There was some talk about using the former church as a museum, but no decision was finalized about that,” Franken said.

“These church buildings belong to the First Nations band that they are on,” explained Franken, further saying his Diocese of St. Paul provides the ministry to the community by having a priest come from Fort McMurray to provide Mass once a month.

Earlier this month, two churches near Barrhead Alberta were burned on the same day, both of which were confirmed to be a result of Arson.

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