A coroner’s inquest into the mass killing on a Saskatchewan First Nation is set to begin today.

Myles Sanderson killed 11 people and injured 17 others on the James Smith Cree Nation and in the nearby village of Weldon on Sept. 4, 2022. 

Sanderson, who was 32, died in police custody a few days later. 

The inquest is to establish the events leading up to the killings, who died, and when and where each person was killed. 

A jury can also make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.

James Smith Cree Nation Chief Wally Burns says the inquest will likely bring back trauma for community members, but he hopes it will also help with healing. 

“Our nation has went through a lot, is dealing with a lot,” Burns said in a recent interview.

The Saskatchewan Coroners Service has said the inquest, which is before a six-person jury, is expected to last at least two weeks.

Chief Coroner Clive Weighill also cautioned that an inquest is for transparency and is not designed to find fault.

A second inquest focusing on Sanderson's death is scheduled in February. Public inquests are mandatory in Saskatchewan when a person dies in police custody.

RCMP have described how Sanderson was stealing vehicles, busting down doors and going door-to-door stabbing people during the rampage. 

A coroner was in the community last week to prepare families for graphic details expected to be presented during the inquest, Burns said.

The chief said the First Nation is preparing to support community members through cultural ceremonies and will provide other health services they may need. 

Burns said he hopes the inquest will provide recommendations about self-administered policing for the First Nation. He added he would like to see First Nations receive a notification when a  member is released from prison.

Sanderson, who had a record of violent assaults, had received statutory release earlier that year but was unlawfully at large at time of the killings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2023.