Solidarity protest for Chief Allan Adam planned in N.W.T. community
RCMP dashcam video shows officer tackling, punching Adam during arrest
A peaceful protest to end systemic racism will take place in Fort Resolution, N.W.T., on June 21 during National Indigenous Peoples Day.
The protest is in solidarity with Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, after he alleged that RCMP officers assaulted him in a Fort McMurray, Alta., parking lot in March. That allegation is now being investigated by Alberta's Serious Incident Response Team.
A nearly 12-minute long RCMP dashcam video from the incident shows an officer running up and jump-tackling the chief to the ground without warning, punching him in the head and putting him in a chokehold.
Sharon Lafferty, Fort Resolution's protest organizer, said watching Adam suffer at the hands of an RCMP officer is personal to her and many others in her small community of just over 400.
WATCH | RCMP dashcam footage of Chief Allan Adam arrest:
'Fort Resolution is a good place to start'
"There was so much brutality in it and there's PTSD, there's some trauma," Lafferty said. "People know Allan Adam, so I can't justify what happened there.
"It kinda upset me."
Lafferty said that she has seen police brutality in her home town of Fort Resolution, N.W.T., and that the systemic racism that causes it is still in place around the world.
"Right now, [the] media is starting to report these stories from the communities and it's happening everyday all over the world," Lafferty told CBC. "So Fort Resolution is a good place to start."
Lafferty said signs of support for Chief Adam are being posted at Fort Resolution's local Northern Store and on the community's Facebook page in order to encourage people to come out.
'We want to feel protected'
Chief Adam thanked community members "from the bottom of his heart" in Fort Resolution and elsewhere in the country that are planning solidarity protests to support him and his wife.
"The solidarity stands with everyone that has been abused across the country." - Allan Adam, chief of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
"The solidarity stands with everyone that has been abused across the country," Adam told CBC. "It's unfortunate that it continues to happen today."
Holding the solidarity protest on Indigenous Day, Adam continued, is especially important because it brings the day back to its original meaning — a commemoration of all the hardships that Indigenous people have to go through.
He encouraged Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike to keep using their voices to continue the fight against systemic racism in the RCMP.
"We want to feel protected, we don't want to continue to feel nervous when the RCMP or a police officer comes around," Adam said.
Lafferty said she is working with a group of organizers from across the N.W.T. to plan more protests in the near future, but cannot confirm which communities are participating just yet.
She's also encouraging other Indigenous groups across Canada to do the same.
The protest is set to start around 9 p.m. Sunday night.