I was too busy drawing photo realistic Ninja Turtles at J.C. Hill to really remember anything from that era, but in light of the recent pot shop busts it makes me wonder how the Six Nations Police handled “illegal” smoke shops way back in the 90s when they first started opening up here on Six Nations.
It would be very interesting to find out. Maybe we didn’t even have our own Police back then, I’m not sure. We didn’t have internet though. If anyone knows feel free to write me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police say they are only following the law when they arrest dispensary retailers here on Six Nations but doesn’t the Canadian government say that our smoke shop industry is illegal too? Are the Six Nations Police the judge and jury when it comes to choosing which Canadian laws they will enforce and which ones they won’t? Maybe the Six Nations Police Commission has spoken against the dispensaries and the boys in blue are only doing their job. I don’t know.
Of course Six Nations as an autonomous ally to the Crown should be in control of its own economy although we rarely get the opportunity. No matter what we do or how hard we try Canada is always there brandishing a billy club or a night stick, happy to shut down a gig. But this time it’s not Indian Agents or colonizers it’s our own people throwing each other behind Canadian jail bars.
The systemic racism in Canada’s criminal justice system is proven by studies and statistics. That’s why we are get Gladue and other helps. Before 1960 Indigenous people made up only one percent of the prison population but today we make up a whopping twenty five per cent. That’s one quarter of Canada’s jail population although Indigenous people are only four per cent of the total population.
Not only are Indigenous people more likely to be convicted but once convicted, Canadian judges act upon their biases and give Indigenous convicts harsher sentences time and time again. Does the Police commission consider that when they are charging dispensary owners with Drug Trafficking they are passing them over to the colonial courts for “justice”.
Our current method of dealing with dispensaries isn’t right. Putting hard working dispensary owners in jail isn’t our way – it’s comes from Ronald Reagans War on Drugs, which in reality was a war on poor people.