Colten Boushie’s family is in Ottawa to meet with federal ministers following the seismic acquittal last week of the Saskatchewan farmer who fatally shot him.
A jury found Gerald Stanley, 56, not guilty of second-degree murder Friday in the 2016 killing of Boushie, a 22-year-old member of the Red Pheasant First Nation.
Boushie’s relatives met Monday with Indigenous Relations Minister Jane Philpott and Indigenous Services Minister Carolyn Bennett, and are expected to sit down Tuesday with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Canada “can and must do better,” Wilson-Raybould, the country’s first Indigenous justice minister, tweeted Saturday in response to the verdict.
Sen. Murray Sinclair posted a poem online saying he grieves for First Nations youth “who now see no hope,” and says Indigenous Canadians like himself have been grieving for so long it has become part of their DNA.
“I grieve for a family that has not yet seen justice from the moment a handgunned farmer (why does a farmer need such a gun?) pulled the trigger and killed their son,” Sinclair wrote.
Kevin Seesequasis, a Cree Nation councillor in Saskatchewan, said both Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents are reeling from what he called as a horrible failure of the criminal justice system.
“Colten Boushie was not just the victim of a senseless murder,” Seesequasis said.
The BC Aboriginal Justice Council just issued this statement re: the Gerard Stanley trial. Reminder: Stanley was found not guilty of second degree murder in the 2016 death of #ColtenBoushie in Saskatchewan.— Kat Slepian (@katslepian) February 11, 2018
BACKGROUND: https://t.co/cnLyOA6ni1 pic.twitter.com/jzt3V6FdEL
“If we cannot find some way toward real change for Indigenous people in the criminal justice system, Colten Boushie will also be the victim of a criminal justice system that was stacked against him from the start and a government indifferent to that reality.”
Indigenous faculty members and allies sent an open letter to heads of universities across Canada describing the Stanley verdict as “yet another iteration of the systemic violence that Indigenous Peoples in this country have faced for over 150 years.”
The letter, signed by more than 20 faculty members from schools as far afield as Australia and New Zealand, calls for universities to support anti-oppressive education and enhance institutional accountability towards First Nations communities.
Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press