Chiefs from the Prince Albert Grand Council’s executive and the communities they represent are speaking out about the controversial verdict in the trial of Gerald Stanley.
A peaceful rally and vigil hosted at the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Gymnasium attracted a crowd of hundreds, including dignitaries from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. At the rally, Lac La Ronge Indian Band chief Tammy Cook-Searson condemned the decision to acquit Stanley.
“This is the year 2018, and this decision that was made is totally unacceptable,” Cook-Searson said. “We need change in the justice system; change on the jury selection.”
Cook-Searson called for unity and action from the people in attendance. She asked for prayers and support for the Boushie family, and said the Lac La Ronge Indian Band stands in their support.
The Lac La Ronge chief was joined by councillors from Linda Charles, from Stanley Mission, and Angus Mirasty, from the Little Red River Reserve.
Charles spoke about how the justice system failed her in 2003 when her oldest son died. Through court proceedings, she said her son’s attackers were handed conditional sentences for aggravated assault. Based on her personal experiences and the experience of the Boushie family, Charles also called for changes in the justice system.
“We have talked about the justice system; it will never work for our people, because we’re not the ones that created it, so it will fail us,” Charles said. “We talk about reconciliation. Where is it? We talk about it all the time, but we don’t feel it.”
Mirasty said he was disappointed with the verdict handed down Feb. 9. He agreed with Cook-Searson and said the jury selection process needs to be addressed to promote equality. Mirasty also called for togetherness to address the issues in the Canadian justice system.
“First and foremost, we are Indian, we are [Cree]," Mirasty said. "We need to stand strong and steadfast, and believe that, and work together as people to challenge every level of government."
A candle light vigil for Colten Boushie is set to be hosted at the Lac La Ronge Urban reserve at 7 p.m. tonight.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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