Dolan Badger recently moved to Whitecourt after his mother became ill
By Markham Hislop
Dolan Badger, a well-known member of the Western Canadian gay community has been murdered in northern Alberta in what activists fear is another incidence of “gay bashing.”
Around 7 a.m. Saturday RCMP were called to a Whitecourt home and found 49-year old Badger suffering from “visible injuries.” He was treated by officers and EMS personnel, but was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Whitecourt Healthcare Centre.
Police arrested 22-year old William Kootenay at the scene and subsequently charged him with one count of second degree murder. Kootenay is scheduled to appear at the Whitecourt courthouse on Jan. 22.
Badger’s death is being investigated by members of the Whitecourt RCMP and “K” Division Major Crime Unit.
Dolan Badger was an HIV support and outreach worker for HIV Edmonton until 2010, according to Executive Director Shelley Williams. She say she stayed in touch with many of his former colleagues, but was not working for HIV Edmonton at the time of his death.
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“On behalf of HIV Edmonton our thoughts are with Dolan’s family, friends and colleagues,” she said in an emailed statement. “He was a wonderful two-spirited aboriginal man proud of his heritage and sexuality. We are sorry to hear of the loss of Dolan Badger but know his spirit lives with many.”
“Dolan’s death is deeply impacting many members of the LGBTQ community, he was well respected as a community advocate who worked tirelessly on behalf of the two spirit and aboriginal communities,” said Dr. Kristopher Wells, associate director, Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta.
“His passion, voice, and important work are a loss for us all.”
Wells says he knew Dolan Badger professionally and had invited him to speak on “two-spirit” issues at the university. The former resident of Sturgeon Lake Cree First Nation was respected for creating needed awareness of two-spirit issues within the Aboriginal and mainstream communities.
Wells has heard the rumours that Badger’s death was a “gay bashing.” The family told Xtra Magazine that he had been “gaybashed.” Whitecourt RCMP had not responded by publication time to a Beacon News interview request to clarify if they are investigating the murder as a hate crime.
Members of the LGBTQ community often suffer discrimination and prejudice because of their sexuality, according to Wells, though there is no evidence to suggest Alberta is more prejudiced against homosexuals than other provinces.
“I think what we see is often a lack of resources, discussion, and awareness in rural and remote environments,” said Wells. “The positive news is that awareness is growing both within the community and among law enforcement In Canada, we treat hate motivated crimes very seriously.”
According to Xtra, Dolan Badger was hired as a street liaison worker and educator for Vancouver’s aboriginal AIDS group, Healing Our Spirit in 1993. He said that growing up gay and aboriginal had been difficult, and discovering the concept of “two-spirit” helped him come to terms with his sexuality.
“I felt that I had to stay away from the two aspects of my life that defined me because I was constantly bombarded with slurs, racist insults and derogatory remarks,” Badger wrote in Edmonton-based vueweekly.com in 2009.
“Largely because of my work with Healing Our Spirit and my discovery of the term, I now stand proud as a two-spirit person and as an aboriginal, and no longer do I need to blend into the background.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the death of Dolan Badger to contact the Whitecourt RCMP at 780-778-2238 or Crime Stopper at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
Sites That Link to this Post
- Aboriginal gay man murdered in Canada – Gay Star News | GAYFRIENDSCHAT.com | January 20, 2013