ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE (June 16, 2020) – First Nation Leaders across Turtle Island are appalled following the news of a second fatal police-involved shooting. Rodney Levi of Metepenagiag First Nation was fatally shot by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on June 12; less than two weeks after the death of Chantal Moore by Edmundston Police Department.
“When does this end? How can Indigenous Leaders state loudly enough that law enforcement killing our people must stop?” asks Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare. “Systemic Racism is rampant in all of our institutions and these senseless killings are a reminder of that. It is unthinkable that amidst a pandemic of a disease that does not discriminate against any race and has claimed millions of lives, that not only do we have to protect our families from a deadly disease, we also have to protect them from those that took an oath to serve and protect us!”
Outcries and calls for the inquiry to examine systemic racism against Indigenous people across all provinces have continuously fallen onto deaf ears; however, Grand Council Chief Glen Hare is unceasingly demanding that Prime Minister Trudeau and Premiers in every Province act decisively to restructure police services.
“We have seen far too many incidents in the recent weeks, not just here, but globally, and throughout the years as a result of the shortcomings and ineffectiveness of current police tactics, and unchecked deep-rooted racism whereby officers act with unnecessary and excessive force. Something more needs to be done to reform police services and it needs to happen now.”
As these injustices come to light, and as the 25th anniversary of the shooting death of unarmed protestor Anthony “Dudley” George by an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) sniper at Ipperwash Beach fast approaches, it is important to emphasize the recommendation from the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry #53. It states, “The provincial government, First Nations organizations, the OPP, and other police services in Ontario should develop networks promoting communication, understanding, trust, and collaboration during [Indigenous] occupations and protests.”
“While that recommendation speaks to occupations and protestors, it will always be relevant to develop networks and collaborate where our own people— organizations, services, experts, law enforcement— are involved to have the best possible outcome in order to prevent irreversible consequences like these. Our people know how to best help and support our vulnerable people,” says Grand Council Chief Hare. “Building a foundation based on trust and understanding is necessary and relevant in all aspects of policing – our people need to trust in those that enforce laws and trust that they believe that our lives matter—First Nations lives matter.”
The Anishinabek Nation is a political advocate for 39 member First Nations across Ontario, representing approximately 65,000 citizens. The Anishinabek Nation is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.