From email@example.com Sat Mar 25 06:06:18 2000
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Continuing Atrocities by Canadian Police Against First Nations People
By Trisha Monture-Angus, 21 March 2000
Good day everyone:
I am writing to you to ask that you support the position of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations regarding the recent policing crisis in Saskatchewan. I ask for your support in a letter writing campaign organized by the FSIN and at the end of this email I will provide you a list of politicians to forward letters to.
I hope you have all heard about the situation, but I will share the facts very briefly just in case you don't know. In early February, a First Nation's man Darrell Night reported that he had been taken outside the city and dropped off by Saskatoon police. As you can guess, February nights are mighty cold in Saskatchewan. Around the same time that Mr. Night was dropped off, two frozen bodies of First Nations men (Lawrence Wegner, a SIFC student and Rodney Naistus) were found in fields near the "drop off" spot. There are three other deaths that are also suspicious and similar. This police practice has a nickname on the street, it is called a "starlight tour". Obviously, if a street nickname exists this is not an isolated practice.
The FSIN has prepared a "draft sample B.C.R." to circulate to First Nations community which I will reproduce here. It provides further information on the first steps toward solution that FSIN is putting forward:
"WHEREAS recent events have brought a re-newed sense of urgency to issues of policing in Saskatchewan and the treatment of First Nations citizens by both the police and justice system;
AND WHEREAS telephone calls to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian nations made since the release of the news about the recent deaths of two young First Nations men and the mal-treatment of another, indicate that the individual acts of discrimination against First Nations citizens by the police are neither isolated or random acts, nor are they solely situated around the city of Saskatoon;
AND WHEREAS the overwhelming number of calls point to the systemic nature of the occurrence of unjust practices against First Nation's by police officers;
AND WHEREAS it is well documented that the First Nation's people have been consistently mistreated by the various sectors of the existing Canadian Justice system as demonstrated by the findings of the numerous justice inquiries, commissions, studies, and reviews;
AND WHEREAS the First Nation's leadership and citizens have consistently called for fairness and equity for the First Nations people who find themselves caught in the justice system;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the First Nation Leadership, on behalf of our citizens demand the following:
1. The Government of Saskatchewan, in conjunction with their federal counterparts, act, in an affirmative manner and with necessary haste in offering a firm commitment to the First Nation citizens living in this province to call a public inquiry into the entire justice system with clear acknowledgment of the systemic nature of the injustices and with clear commitment to act on recommendations made;
2. In order to being the long and difficult process of renewing the faith of the First Nations, both as Nations and as individuals, in the justice services provided in this province, we demand the immediate termination of the employment of the police officers who have admitted to dropping off the surviving young First Nations man outside of the city of Saskatoon in sub zero weather."
It is my understanding that FSIN is not calling for an inquiry that reproduces the numerous inquiries of the past, but rather a public inquiry to ensure that all First Nation's citizens in this province have the right to be heard. The truth must come out before any reconciliation can be made. Letting the truth be spoken is also the first stage of the healing process.
The news on Thursday was that the police union will be appealing the decision to suspend the two officers involved in the Night incident without pay for 60 days. The police association asserts that the FSIN is using this as a political opportunity and that the officers have a good reason for what they did. It is my view that the police association could not make this assertions if the province had strongly condemned the practice of "starlighting". The gap that is left by the provincial justice minister's failure to fully condemn practices is creating the circumstance where further harm is done to First Nations.
My view is that FSIN, and especially Chief Perry Bellegarde and Vice-Chief Lawrence Joseph, are firmly and passionately committed to seeking justice. This is why I have chosen at this time to support FSIN's efforts by sending out this email.
Please feel free to forward this letter on to your friends. If you have any questions, you can get back to me too.
The letters should go to:
Minister Chris Axworthy
And copies to:
Prime Minister Jean Chretien
Minister of Indian Affairs, Robert Nault
Minister Anne McLellan
The Hon. Lawrence MacAulay
Minister Jack Hillson
And of course, please ensure that FSIN is also copied as follows:
Office of the Chief
Regards, Trisha Monture-Angus
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