Treaty One and Six Territories – Many First Nation mothers across Turtle Island will stand in solidarity today with the women of the family of Colten Boushie. Unfortunately, there are so many First Nation mothers, across Canada, who share a similar pain as their loved ones may have also been lost or removed or jailed or damaged by governance tools and systems that maintain inequalities against First Nation youth.
“We fear for those still alive. When our kids leave our homes, we wonder if they are going to come back, and not just because of all the natural dangers out there, and there are many, we wonder if they will be killed or injured by the very systems that are supposed to protect the people within Canada,” Sheila North, Grand Chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), said. “Today, we will be attending rallies, gatherings, and protests to call for action on the many recommendations, by numerous studies, that have made on the justice system. The Canada of old must die. The wishes and fears of Canadians long dead must be put to rest. This is the first year of Canada’s next 150 years! It is time for change, it is time for a better relationship between First Nation families and Canada. If a government cannot provide justice for the people it governs, how can that be called a democracy? Police forces and courts must evolve. There can be no reconciliation without justice.”
At this difficult time, First Nation families in Manitoba will be sending their thoughts and prayers to the family of Colten Boushie, their friends, and community. In Saskatchewan, the Vice Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations (FSIN), Kim Johnathan, asks for a day of mourning and activism, without violence.
“It is natural to be angry at a time like this, but we must push past that if we want positive change. Now is the time to come together in unity, to show the strength and passion we have for making Colten’s senseless death come to have some kind of meaning. These heart-breaking, negative events can be the beginning of something positive,” Vice Chief Jonathan said. “We thank you for standing with the First Nation mothers of Saskatchewan today. We are strong when we stand together in peace, in ceremony, in dance. Let’s march in that spirit again today. Let’s listen to what the family of Colten Boushie has to say. And we want Canada and Canadians to be listening too. A new relationship is only possible if there are mothers on that side, willing to reach back, willing to talk and willing to push for change. If Canada is going to reflect the values that Canadians say they hold today, then equality and the equal application of justice must become vital to the building of a healthy relationship.”
The mothers, life-givers and water bears of the FSIN and the MKO urge action on the many recommendations for improving policing and the courts system that have been made through studies like the Stonechild Inquiry in Saskatchewan, the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba and the recent report by Mr. Frank Iacobucci on the challenges First Nations face when it comes to being chosen for juries in Ontario.