Perhaps you will feel compelled to help Chris Martell and his family.
Chris Martell is committed to the discovery of the facts concerning his son's tragic death. Evander Lee Daniels died in a horrific way on Tuesday June 8th 2010, so Chris' sorrow and loss is very fresh and raw. My first reference to this horror was in a bulletin post on June 29 entitled Chris Martell. The facts came from CBC and Star Phoenix accounts in Saskatoon. Today's information concentrates on some of Chris' own recent comments to my blog post. It is a complex story. Another CBC story. Jeanette Stewart of The StarPhoenix also wrote articles on June 24th and June 25th.
Chris doesn't want his son's death to be quickly forgotten like a closed file in the Ministry's office. It is not sufficient to simply accept the coroner's verdict of “death by drowning.” Technically that may be appropriate but there is more to this story. This is the way Chris tells his story.
The coroner released this little boy's body to Chris on Friday of that week with a media release that there was extensive type burns which may have contributed to the death. Disturbed by what they saw, the operators of the funeral home summoned Chris to look at the infant's body because there was evidence of third degree burns over the entire body from face and head to toe with the exception of the diapered torso. As Chris himself describes it, because of the condition of the body and the way it had to be wrapped, a white screen was stretched over the casket for viewing that would not reveal all details of the child's fatal injuries.
Chris is unmarried. The mother of his child Evander experienced a not uncommon post birth depression and was unable immediately to care for the child. Since Chris was an enlisted soldier with the U.S. Army, the infant was kindly cared for by a cousin and her husband. When Evander was one year old, Chris returned on leave and during this time he and the boy's mother had a domestic dispute that resulted in a charge issued against him which prevented him from leaving Canada to return to U.S. military duty. Chris explains that because he did not have $5000 for a lawyer to fight what he says was a false charge, he chose to plead guilty and was sentenced to eight months of anger management. He was unaware that the caregiver gave the boy to Social Services because the plan was for the mother who had recovered from her depression and dependencies, to apply for custody of her own son. Chris was alarmed to learn that Evander was in A foster home in Aberdeen, SK which he discovered already had four foster children under the age of three and five children in total. Social Services appeared to make a decision that warrants criticism because it stated that a Native family with three children is overcrowded whereas the non native home mentioned above with five was not considered overcrowded. Social services assured Chris that the boy's safety was not a concern in what SS considered a safe home. Both Chris' extended family and the mother's extended family were considering how to care for Evander. Chris was in favour of letting the boy's mother have a chance to raise the child. The plan was for the birth mother's sister to take the boy until the mother received approval. Meanwhile Chris appealed for a court order for visits to his son.
On the day Evander died, Chris and the birth mother were meeting to discuss with officials why the process was taking so long to arrange. It was already too late.
Chris wants a lawyer to do an inquiry to ascertain the extent of what he perceives as obvious negligence that caused death, both from the aspect of the foster care facility and the Social Services' assessment of the home. To raise money to finance that inquiry he publicized a 150 kilometre walk from Saskatoon to Prince Albert SK. That's what caught the attention of news media earlier. He is scheduling another 125 km walk from Saskatoon to North Battleford on August 5th concluding on the 6th, Evander's birthday. In spite of the news coverage and Facebook publicity people have not responded generously and he has raised only $2500 but Chris is grateful to the donors.
I am asking you to consider giving to a Trust Fund.
Chris has informed me that Donations to this cause for an inquiry will be administered by the highly respected lawyer Donald E. Worme, Q.C., I.P.C. He serves as the Trust Fund Trustee. I have learned that Mr. Worme is a member of the Kawacatoose First Nation and practices extensively in criminal law and Aboriginal rights litigation. Donald is a founding member and member in good standing with the Indigenous Bar Association in Canada, a national association of Aboriginal lawyers, where he served as President between 1989 and 1991. He received his Queen’s Counsel appointment in December of 2002 and the Indigenous Peoples Counsel (IPC) appointment in October 2006. Don has been an active Member of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal since 2001 and is mandated to review decisions and human rights complaints. Don has been selected as one of the top 100 alumni of influence as part of a celebration of achievement at the 100th anniversary of the University of Saskatchewan.
Donations may be sent to the AFFINITY CREDIT UNION, 3315c Fairlight Dr., Saskatoon Saskatchewan, S7M 3Y5, Phone: 934-4000 Fax: 934-5496, for the Evander Daniels or Chris Martell Account - Account #1082122.
Chris Martell will welcome your email communication if you wish to encourage him or to ask him questions to which he can reply. Write him at email@example.com. He also appeals to you to join one or both Facebook pages, one that is Chris' and the other dedicated to his son Evander Lee Daniels Group.
YouTube, a pictorial tribute to Evander Lee Daniels using 'Amazing Grace' music as background.
Chris speaks to us about his need to raise funds.
The Aboriginal Multi Media Society,staff writer Isha Thompson has written Chris's story in SAGE, Saskatcehwan's Aboriginal News Publication.