“Very disheartened, very disillusioned.”
That’s how National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde described his feelings upon hearing the verdict in the Colten Boushie murder trial on Friday night.
Gerald Stanley, the man accused of killing the 22 year old Indigenous man in August 2016, was acquitted by the 12 member jury in North Battleford.
Upon hearing the verdict, protests and demonstrations formed across Canada, many of whom demanding equality for Indigenous peoples and justice for the family.
Bellegarde has keeping a close eye on the movements across the country. He says it’s good to see people taking a stand on an extremely important and pressing issue.
- Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould weighs in on verdict of Gerald Stanley trial
- Gerald Stanley found not guilty in 2016 death of Colten Boushie
“Our First Nations peoples are outraged at the verdict,” said Bellegarde. “People are standing up, demanding change and rightly so! That’s what it’s all about!”
Bellegarde stresses change need to be made to the justice system. He says it needs an overhaul to be made more fair, as well it needs to include greater and proportional representation of First Nations peoples. But perhaps most importantly, he says the people at the top, those in positions of power, need to start driving that change.
“We’re calling on the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to work to fix the overall systemic racism in the justice systems that are there,” noted Bellegarde. “We’re calling on Premier Scott Moe to work on racism in the province of Saskatchewan.”