Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

Archive for February, 2018

JUSTICE FOR COLTEN

Posted by strattof on February 17, 2018

This pamphlet is in memory of Colten Boushie, a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation, who was killed on August 9, 2016, by a gunshot to the back of his head from a handgun held by Gerald Stanley. Colten was 22 years old. Our thoughts are with his family.

The “not guilty” verdict reached last weekend in the Stanley murder trial shocked many of us. It should not have! If we are paying even the slightest bit of attention, we would know by now that there is no justice for Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan or Canada—a province and a country founded on racism which, 150 years later, remains entrenched in our society.

How is it possible to move forward? Perhaps the verdict in this trial will be the spark that will ignite meaningful change when it comes to justice for Indigenous peoples. But we must work at it!

INDIGENOUS LIVES MATTER!

THERE WILL BE NO RECONCILIATION UNTIL THERE IS JUSTICE.

RACISM IN SASKATCHEWAN

The tragic death of Colten Boushie shines a light on racism in our judicial system and society.

PRESUMED GUILTY

When the RCMP went to Red Pheasant Cree Nation to inform Colten’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, of his death, officers behaved as if Colten’s family members were criminals: ●RCMP vehicles surrounded the family trailer. ●Officers then searched the surrounding area and the home, rummaging through the family possessions. Some of the officers had their guns drawn. ●An officer ordered a grieving Baptiste to “get it together.” ●He also asked Baptiste if she had been drinking.

MORE RACISM

  • The RCMP’s first media release linked the news of Colten’s death to a recent surge in thefts in the area—providing, as FISN Chief Bobby Cameron put it, “just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified.”
  • In the days following Colten’s death, a flood of racist hate-filled comments appeared on social media, many of them promoting violence against Indigenous peoples.
  • In March 2017, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities voted 93% in favour of lobbying the federal government for more relaxed self-defence laws.

 PRESUMED INNOCENT

  • The RCMP has laid no hate-speech charges against those who posted hate-speech online following Colten’s death.
  • In an internal investigation, the RCMP cleared itself of any wrong-doing when its officers visited Colten’s home immediately following his death.

AN ALL WHITE JURY

It was an all-white jury that found Gerald Stanley not guilty. How did this happen? Indigenous peoples make up over 25% of the Battlefords’ population.

During the selection of jurors, the defence challenged any potential juror who looked Indigenous. Our legal system allows the use of racist challenges to eliminate jurors.

TODAY I GRIEVE FOR MY COUNTRY

by Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission–in response to the verdict in the Stanley murder trial

Today I grieve for my country.
I grieve for a family
that has seen only injustice
from the moment a farmer with a handgun
(why does a farmer need a handgun?)
killed their son.
I grieve for a mother
who saw the police raid her house
and treat her like a criminal
and not the victim she was.
I grieve for other mothers
with empty arms
who are reminded of their own loss
at the hands of others
and the lack of answers that haunt them still.
I grieve for the youth
who now see no hope,
and whose hunger for justice
gives rise to anger.
I grieve for the children
whose lives now have
one more jeopardy.
I grieve for the elders
who have seen this before.
And whose wisdom holds no means
to get through this evenly.
I may grieve for some time.
But then again…
we have been grieving a long time.
This is why
we can’t “just get over it and move on”.
My country won’t let me.

Advertisements

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »