Author Topic: #JusticeForColten and a Rough Week in Indian Country  (Read 2176 times)

Offline Defend the Sacred

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#JusticeForColten and a Rough Week in Indian Country
« on: February 16, 2018, 12:18:49 pm »
Injustice is not new. Murder, and acquittal of white supremacists by all-white juries, is not new. But this has been a particularly tough week and a lot of people are hurting. If people seem to have short fuses, bear that in mind.  There's a lot of grief being heaped on communities where people are already struggling with CPTSD and ongoing attacks from white supremacists, both overt and covert.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's one article. There's lots more.

If you are going about your business without a break in your step this weekend, with nary a thought for Colten Boushie, ask yourself why that is so.

Why is it that Friday night’s not guilty verdict in the young man’s death, which is a moment of national shame, does not shake you to your core? Why has the grief and outrage that led spontaneously to more than a dozen protests across Canada the day after the verdict not enraged you, not fired up your fears for your children’s future, and not driven you to speak up against repeated centuries-old injustice enacted under your nose?

Do you see how indifference makes us all complicit?

Battleford, Sask., might as well be America from the 1950s. An all-white jury in a court presided by a white judge found Gerald Stanley, a white farmer charged with second-degree murder, not guilty after a bullet from his gun killed 22-year-old Boushie, an Indigenous man from the Red Pheasant First Nation.

In the selection of the jury for the trial — where lawyers are allowed to use “peremptory challenges” to reject a potential juror without giving any reason — every single Indigenous person who showed up was rejected.

“Indigenous people are tired of being part of a justice system that excludes them. Tired of being tried by white judges and juries and then thrown into jails that in some parts of Canada — Saskatchewan, Manitoba and in northern Ontario — are almost entirely Indigenous,” says my colleague Tanya Talaga, author of the bestselling Seven Fallen Feathers, in which she chronicled the lives and deaths of seven First Nations students who left their homes and families so they could get a high school education.

The issue of makeup of juries is not new.

Former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci reviewed Ontario’s jury roll system for a year following legal challenges from First Nations families and organizations, and released his report in 2013. At a Thunder Bay press conference then, he said there was widespread systemic racism in the courts, justice and police systems in the north.

“He warned that if nothing was done, any true hope of reconciliation between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people would disappear,” says Talaga.

“He is correct. There can be no reconciliation without rights.”


The twitter #JusticeForColten feed also has many posts and links.