Many people have been discussing this topic in light of the recent Colten Boushie case in Saskatchewan. Many people are emotional, discouraged and afraid. It has been heart breaking to see the results of the case and watching the blatant racism, division and arguments happening across social media platforms and in public spaces since that verdict. Many First Nations, Metis and Inuit leaders have spoken out about the injustices constantly faced by Indigenous people, and others have sent “thoughts and prayers”. Many more people are asking “what’s next?”.
For me, I hope that the Boushie family appeals this decision and utilizes every legal mechanism available in this country and imperfect system to try and get justice for Colten. But in the mean time, while that family seeks justice, the rest of us feel so strongly about this case, that we as community members need an outlet to channel our energy. I believe the best thing we can all do is spend time organizing in our local communities, reaching out to our relatives and asking what they need, and most importantly familiarize ourselves with the justice/Indigenous peoples focused recommendations that already exist. We must all work as hard as we can to educate the public about what those recommendations are, and then animate those helpers to speak to elected officials, international courts and whoever we need to to IMPLEMENT these already existing recommendations that would save many Indigenous lives. Find below links to several of the reports where there are recommendations we can share with the public and the system today:
- Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba (1991)
- Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996)
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (2007)
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action (2015)
As you can see, reports have been written, recommendations have been made – sadly very few of these recommendations have been acted upon. So while we feel this fire that motivates us to fight for justice, let’s do or homework, figure out what types of ideas we can move forward on in the short term and over the long term.
We cannot stop fighting for justice. Justice for Colten, justice for Tina, justice for our future children so that they never have to experience this. Don’t lose hope my relative, we are not defeated and we are not helpless. There are events coming up in Winnipeg to discuss this and great helpers in organizations like Onashowewin that can help us work together to achieve these goals. It’s not gonna be easy, but if we do this work together, I believe we can make the necessary changes so that everyone can have a good life.