RCMP MEDIA RELEASE BRINGS TO LIGHT SASKATCHEWAN’S RACIAL ISSUES
(Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatoon, SK) – The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Executive extends their deepest condolences to the family of Colten Boushie and the community of the Red Pheasant First Nation.
“We are saddened by the tragic death of Colten Boushie and offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends. This young man’s death is a tragedy,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “We are extremely disappointed in the way the RCMP have presented the shooting incident near Biggar, Saskatchewan, on August 9, 2016. The news release the RCMP issued the following day provided just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified. The messaging in an RCMP news release should not fuel racial tensions.”
“The family of Colten Boushie is devastated by the loss of their son,” said Chief Clint Wuttunee of the Red Pheasant First Nation. “The media’s initial portrayal of the event made the incident sound like a crime was about to be committed by the passengers in the car. The media based their reports on the RCMP’s news release.”
“The people of this province and this country deserve an immediate strategy to be put in place by all levels of leaders in order to feel safe, including the assurance that this tragedy will be investigated for what it is, a crime based on race,” said FSIN Vice Chief Kimberly Jonathan. “Colten Boushie deserves justice and anything less is unacceptable.”
“The shooting incident is causing concern amongst First Nations youth,” said FSIN Youth representative Andre Bear. “There is growing concern that First Nation youth will travel in fear and be targeted because of the colour of their skin. Our young people should not have to live in a state of fear because of hate.”
The FSIN is calling for a review of the RCMP’s communication policies and writing guidelines in respect to the August 10, 2016 media release about the shooting incident near Biggar, Saskatchewan. The RCMP news release was biased and not in line with the relationship the FSIN and the RCMP have been building with measures such as the RCMP FSIN Partnership Protocol. The FSIN looks to the RCMP to ensure that their conduct respects that relationship.
The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of the Treaties, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.