“It won’t change unless significant action is taken…” says Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh
Kenora, ON — Grand Council Treaty #3 hosted the Indigenous Justice Group (IJG) over two days in Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation hearing from local service providers in the justice sector about their experiences as First Nations peoples in the provincial justice system.
“We had constructive discussion from several different service providers who maintain, as Treaty #3 does, that much more needs to be done to address First Nations over-representation in the criminal justice system,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh. “We know that the justice system does not serve the needs of our people, so they must first acquaint themselves with the reality of our situation and now look at ways in which change can occur, and it won’t change unless significant action is taken.”
The IJG members at the meeting included:
– Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)
– Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, Treaty #3 Grand Chief
– Sylvia Maracle, Executive Director, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC)
– Elder Barney Batise, Elder Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)
– Joyce King, Director of the Akwesasne Justice Department for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
Kimberly Murray, Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the Indigenous Justice Division of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, was also in attendance.
The Aboriginal Justice Advisory Group (AJAG) was established as an advisory body to provide advice to the Attorney General on matters affecting First Nations Peoples and the justice system. AJAG was established pursuant to Recommendation 2 of the Honourable Frank Iacobucci’s report entitled First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries (the Report).
AJAG’s membership was reconstituted in 2016 to consist of all Indigenous members. At that time, its aim was also changed to the Indigenous Justice Advisory Group (IJAG), which has since been changed to the Indigenous Justice Group (IJG). IJG is currently comprised of individuals from a variety Ontario First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, in accordance with Justice Iacobucci’s intention for IJG as expressed in the Report.
To see the Full Report please visit: First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/iacobucci/First_Nations_Representation_Ontario_Juries.html