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Chantel Moore inquest shows ‘urgent need’ for inquiry into systemic racism, say chiefs


Six leaders of the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick have continued to call for an Indigenous-led investigation into systemic racism, said the coroner’s inquiry this week into the police shooting. Chantel Moore’s death during a medical examination in Edmundston demonstrated “urgent need”. “

On Thursday, after four days of witnessing in Fredericton, The jury concluded that the death of 26-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman in 2020 was a homicide.

The jury recommended, among other things, that a single agency oversees uses of force in New Brunswick and that the police take steps to improve their relationship with the First Nations, for example such as cultural sensitivity training or appointing a First Nation community liaison.

The jury’s findings and recommendations “do not address the grave nature of the tragedy, or the systemic problems in the justice system,” the chairmen said in a press release.

“This reflects the failure of the Blaine Higgs government to address the root cause of Chantel Moore’s death, and similar tragedies.”

Ask the commissioner to recommend the investigation

Sheriffs have been calling for an Indigenous-led investigation in two years – since Moore’s death on June 4, 2020, and the police shooting. Rodney Levi by Metepenagiag First country about a week later.

“Unlike a government commission or coroner’s investigation, an investigation will compel government departments and agencies to provide witnesses, testimony, and any documents necessary for a full investigation. enough about systemic racism,” Pilick (Kingsclear First Nation) Sheriff Gabriel Atwin said in a statement.

The leaders say there are “fundamental, deep-rooted problems with racism against indigenous peoples” and are calling on the province’s systemic racism commissioner, Manju Varma, to publicly raise the issue. recommend an investigation.

Even though they have refuse to participate in Varma’s ongoing assessment of racism against Indigenous peoples, immigrants and people of color in New Brunswick, calling her mission “couldn’t be broader”, mission leaders were encouraged to see her and her team attend the investigation. investigation, said Wotstak Chief Tim Paul (Woodstock First Nation).

“Now we ask: Was what she saw this week enough for her to join our call?”

‘Without justice there can be no peace’

Sheriff Allan Polchies Jr., of Sitansisk (St. Mary’s First Nation) in Fredericton, who commended the Moore family’s “strength and perseverance” in their pursuit of justice, said he agreed to Moore’s mother, Martha Martin, that “bold change is needed.”

He told reporters after the investigation.

“We need action, we need justice. … No justice, no peace.”

Polchies said whether the provincial government ordered an investigation, but whether citizens asked for an investigation.

“The New Brunswickers give them voices to bring our voices, the voices of voiceless children… like Chantel,” he said.

Führer Allan Polchies Jr., the first Führer of St. (Jennifer Sweet / CBC)

“So where are they? Where are they, that’s what New Brunswickers need to ask. You need to ask them. They are our decision makers in this province, just like I am the decision-maker in my community. You know, we have to take ownership of the decisions we make.

“So I say to all New Brunswickers keep your MLA and Premier [Blaine] Higgs… responsible. Give dignity. “

‘Community members at risk’

Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation) Sheriff Ross Perley has long argued that an investigation is the only way to “introduce a credible and independent process that can lead to a justice system that we I can have faith.”

He said nothing has changed this week.

“This traumatic investigation, which the Moore family has faithfully attended, has not allowed them to participate. It has no power to find the root cause of the failures in the justice system that continue to plague our community members are at risk.”

In addition, the leaders “have no confidence” that the recommendations made by the jury – or by the systematic racism committee – will “receive appropriate care or attention from the government.” Higgs government.”

Chief Patricia Bernard of Matawaskiye (Madawaska First Nation), questioned whether any recommendations from last October query about Levi’s death has been acted upon.

“How can any impartial observer believe that this investigation or the ongoing commission will bring about a change that reduces the risks our community faces in the future?” cooperate with the police?”

Higgs declined to request an independent investigation systemic racism against Indigenous peoples in the justice system, saying that there have been many recommendations to address the issue and they just need to be implemented.

Varma’s report is expected to be sent to government in October and is expected to include recommendations to tackle systemic racism in areas such as health care, education, social development, housing, employment and criminal justice.



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