'Stop hunting us, stop killing us': hundreds at Vancouver rally demand justice for Tina Fontaine

Hundreds gathered in downtown Vancouver to protest this week's acquittal of Raymond Cormier in the death of 15-year-old Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine.

'This is a grave injustice and it's a day of mourning,' says demonstrator

"Stop hunting us, stop killing us," speaker Audrey Siegl said on stage at a Vancouver rally held Saturday, Feb. 24, for Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

It was a familiar scene just two weeks apart. 

On Feb. 10, hundreds gathered for a rally at the CBC Plaza in downtown Vancouver to protest the not-guilty verdict in the death of Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man killed who was shot and killed on a property in rural Saskatchewan.

On Saturday, hundreds assembled in the same spot, for an acquittal in the death of another Indigenous youth: Tina Fontaine, the 15-year-old Winnipeg teen whose body was found wrapped in a river in Aug. 2014, and whose cause of death remains unknown. 

Raymond Cormier, the man charged in her killing, was acquitted by a jury Thursday after a three-week trial, sparking nationwide rallies and demands for reforms in Canada's justice system. 

The speakers' voices in Vancouver were wrought with emotion as they denounced back-to-back injustices. 

"I see the babies and it scares me because how do we keep them safe? The systems are stacked against us," Audrey Siegl said on stage.

"Stop hunting us, stop killing us." 

'Indigenous women are valued the least'

David Dennis described the mood in Indigenous communities as deep anger. 

"It's just a sense of hopelessness at this point," Dennis said.

He said the rally was to signal to the public that Indigenous people were "not going to sit on their hands on issues like this." 

Dennis also brought his four-year-old daughter to the rally. She's been raised in a loving family, he said, but he worries about her growing up in a country that he says is systemically racist toward Indigenous people.

"[Fontaine's] case underscores the fact that, in this country, Indigenous women are valued the least," he said. 

Angela Marie MacDougall called violence against Indigenous women an epidemic in Canada and said the rally was to stand in solidarity with them. 

"We have Tina Fontaines every day all across Canada," she said. 

"This is a grave injustice and it's a day of mourning." 


With files from CBC's Susana da Silva and Chantelle Bellrichard