Yukoners gather in support of justice reform in wake of verdict in Colten Boushie case
Change demanded after jury acquits white farmer in shooting death of young Cree man
Yukoners rallied in Dawson City and Whitehorse Tuesday demanding change in the justice system and supporting the family of Colten Boushie.
On Friday, a Saskatchewan jury acquitted Gerald Stanley, a white Saskatchewan farmer, in the death of Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man from Red Pheasant First Nation.
"It's sad to see when the justice system is not here to support us, the justice system is meant for everybody at the end of the day and it's protection of our rights and freedoms," said Peter Johnston, the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations.
Yukon Indigenous leader and a former long-time journalist Shirley Adamson remembers when some Whitehorse residents were openly racist.
She noted the diverse crowd at Tuesday's rally at the healing totem on the city's riverfront.
"I'm very proud of the support that's here, although I think that all of us believe what's brought us together is the result of a racist hate crime, it's comforting to see that not all people feel the same way," said Adamson.
"There's a lot of non-Aboriginals in this circle with us and I'm grateful for that, truly I'm grateful for that," she said.
That diversity was also noted by Ricky Mawunganidze, who attended the rally near the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre in Dawson City with several dozen other people.
Mawunganidze said he gave a prayer that future generations will not have to continue the same fight that Indigenous people have always had to fight.
"Indigenous peoples are still invisible as far as the institutions that govern us are concerned and what happened in this case with Colten Boushie doesn't begin and end with Colten Boushie," he said.
"It's a part of a system that has existed for millennia and continues to thrive today.
"We have a unique responsibility as individuals to ask for that change. To demand that change," he said.
With files from Mike Rudyk