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Honour Colten Boushie by fixing broken justice system

15 February 2018, 07:28 | Taylor George

Honour Colten Boushie by fixing broken justice system

Dozens of people rally outside Regina's Court of Queen's Bench in 2015 to protest an Edmonton jury's not guilty verdict in the death of Cindy Gladue 36-year-old Cree woman

Mr. Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man from Red Pheasant First Nation, was fatally shot in August, 2016, after a auto in which he was a passenger drove onto a property belonging to Gerald Stanley, a white farmer. But within hours, their anger was transformed into a determination to seek political change.

One of her first concerns after hearing the Stanley verdict was how it would affect Indigenous students, Tuck told U of T News.

"Canadians across the country are shocked, saddened and deeply disturbed by the "not guilty" verdict in this trial", said Regional Chief Adamek.

Trudeau described his encounter with the family as a very good, very emotional meeting. You don't need a gun, guns are not made to shoot people they're made to hunt animals. "As a human family we have to demand the governments to dismantle the systems of oppression".

"She said Mr. Trudeau told her: "'Things need to change. While we mourn Colten, we also face oncoming waves of racism. Under the Coroners Act, depending on the circumstances of a death, the chief coroner can require the jury be composed, wholly or in part, of persons from a specific racial or cultural group. Had our leaders instead simply sent their sympathies to the family, without acknowledging the real problems with our legal system this case has exposed, they would have served only to validate the view of the protesters that those in power are indifferent to Indigenous injustice.

By the same token, would people have overlooked limitations in the justice system had Stanley been convicted, even with the same jury?

"Some people state that race has nothing to do with this process, yet the defense felt threatened by an indigenous person being on the jury", she said, referencing the fact that indigenous would-be jurors were rejected in favor of white jurors.

Ms. Baptiste showed the Prime Minister some of the letters she had received, including some from school children on a Saskatchewan reserve.

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As demonstrators beat drums and chanted songs, they called on Canadians to recognize that the Stanley verdict was a violation of justice.

"Today, we saw no justice", said Jade Tootoosis, Boushie's cousin. Colten Boushie didn't deserve to die.

The new Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework - to be unveiled later this year following consultations led by Carolyn Bennett, the minister for Crown-Indigenous relations, and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould - will include new legislation.

For years, journalists, lawyers, activists and even a Supreme Court justice have raised this issue.

"(The conversation) has to continue in the classroom, it has to continue at the dinner table. Bev Jacobs a Windsor University law professor and one of original researchers revealing the huge numbers of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in Canada said the Boushie case affects all indigenous people.

"As Canadian society grapples with the ongoing reality of racism and the challenges of reconciliation, Canada's universities reaffirm our commitment to fostering a renewed relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, by examining and changing our own institutional approaches, policies, practices and structures". "All of these considerations need to come into play in terms of what we do".

Boushie's violent 2016 death and the acquittal of the man who killed him continued to reverberate on Parliament Hill as grieving family members met separately with Wilson-Raybould and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, bent on rooting out what they say is systemic racism in Canada's courts.



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