THUNDER BAY — Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler is calling for an investigation into systemic racism – and the use of force against Indigenous Peoples – by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) following the recent deaths and police brutality at the hands of the police since April.
“Canadians have been shocked to see First Nations leadership brutalized and bloodied by RCMP in recent weeks. We have seen the tapes and heard the excuses, but what we have not seen is a committed federal response to eradicate systemic racism and the misuse of force against Indigenous Peoples by the RCMP,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “I will be writing to the Prime Minster urging him to immediately launch a comprehensive, independent, and transparent investigation into systemic racism and the use of force against Indigenous Peoples by the RCMP.”
Indigenous leadership from coast-to-coast have expressed outrage following the shooting deaths of Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht member killed by police on June 4, and Rodney Levi, a 48-year-old Mi’kmaq man shot and killed by RCMP on June 12. NAN says they are standing with the families in their call for an independent investigation into the deaths.
“The best interests of Indigenous Peoples have never been at the heart of police systems. Only when we acknowledge as a country the problematic foundation of policing systems and the organizations within these systems can we begin to successfully rebuild structures that serve and protect Indigenous Peoples instead of killing them,” said Fiddler.
To achieve systemic change, Fiddler stressed that the path forward may include dismantling the RCMP given that it is not enough to simply adopt new policies or have more cultural training for officers. Meaningful investment in mental health supports and crisis interventions that embody the mandate of public safety must be explored and implemented.