'A long moment of stunned silence': Rosanna Deerchild on telling a crowd Gerald Stanley was found not guilty
I was standing on the side of the stage at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa watching trailblazing music maker Willy Mitchell sing.
Then my cell went off and I glanced down at it.
It was a good friend telling me about another young man.
As I read I shook with anger and heartbreak. Hot tears rolled down my face as I went on social media and read pain-filled status after status.
'I couldn't let this pass'
As a professional I am trained to put emotion aside because "the show must go on." But I couldn't let this pass.
Not after Willy's song. Not while I stood in the nation's capital. Not in front of this audience of relatives and settlers.
I walked on the stage with tears in my eyes, my hands shook, my voice cracked, and I told the audience about that young man, Colten Boushie.
How this young man did not survive what Willy had survived. That he was killed with a bullet to the back of his head and that the shooter — Gerald Stanley, a Saskatchewan farmer — had been found not guilty by a jury of his peers.
There was a stunned silence that went on for a long time.
Then an anguished shout of "No" from one woman. Then "No justice."
I asked the audience for a moment of silence for Colten, his family, for all of us.
And for that moment everyone in that room knew what being Indigenous in Canada means.