The Council of Canadians is calling for justice for Colten Boushie of the Red Pheasant First Nation on Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan.
Yesterday evening an all-white jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of killing 22-year-old Boushie in August 2016.
CBC reports, “After the verdict was read out and people left the courtroom in shock, many members of the Boushie family went into a private room on the second floor of the courthouse. Loud sobbing and screams – including ‘Colten! Colten! Colten!’ – could be heard through the door.”
That article adds, “Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, expressed deep skepticism about Stanley’s assertion that the gun he was holding accidentally went off, killing Boushie. Stanley testified during the trial and said he did not mean to shoot anyone. He said the handgun he was holding accidentally went off, shooting Boushie in the head. Expert witnesses testified the pistol was functioning normally and the handgun could only be fired by pulling the trigger.”
Red Pheasant First Nation Chief Clint Wuttunee said, “[The ruling is] absolutely perverse. Colten Boushie was shot in the back of the head at point blank range. Nevertheless an all white jury formed the twisted view of that obvious truth and found Stanley not guilty.” Alvin Baptiste, Boushie’s uncle, said, “Something has to be done about this. The government, Justin Trudeau, we ask you to give us Indigenous people justice.”
Kim Jonathan, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said, “We’re are all hurting. We all face racism. Everyone sees it. I see it as a mother.” Chris Murphy, the Boushie family lawyer, said, “I ask you to try and understand the nearly bottomless disappointment [of the family]. There is a darkness that exists in this country. I believe we are going to have feel our way out of it.”
On Twitter, reactions included:
Idle No More co-founder Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum): “An all white jury with a white judge acquitted a white man who shot a passed out Indigenous young man in the back of his head.”
Pam Palmater: “Canada should be ashamed tonight how it let racism against Indigenous peoples fester & not only kill Colten Boushie but tell the world his killer is not guilty. Prayers & support to his family – we stand with you.”
Leah ProudLakota: “The Canadian prairies are Canada’s south.”
Erica Violet Lee: “The murdering of Indigenous people – of nêhiyawak – by canada and by saskatchewan has always been legal. And we have lived, and fought, and loved in spite of it. And we will live, and fight, and love in spite of it.”
NDP MP Niki Ashton: “Shocked. Solidarity with all opposing the verdict. There must be Justice for Colten and the Coltens of this world.”
NDP MP Tracey Ramsey: “Tonight our country weeps for the racist injustice that leaves a family without peace for their lost son. The deep systemic racism against Indigenous people must end.This is not reconciliation-this is only a continuation of pain and suffering.”
Derrick O’Keefe: “God damn the racist colonial system that disproportionately locks up Indigenous people and then let’s their killers walk.”
Naomi Klein: “Friends across Canada: this is a list of some of the #JusticeForColten gatherings happening today, hours after the man who murdered him was acquitted by an all-white jury. This is the moment. Show up. Bring a candle. Bring a loved one.”
There are now calls for an appeal of the verdict and a public inquiry.
Council of Canadians calls for justice for Colten Boushie (August 20, 2016)