In Response to Systemic Racism, Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald Calls on Ontario to Implement the Ipperwash Inquiry Recommendations

June 17, 2020 10:32 am
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(Cochrane, ON, June 17, 2020) – Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald supports the call for an investigation by the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), Anishinabek Nation, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) into the systemic racism and recent deaths and brutality of First Nations people by policing services across Canada.

“We, as First Nations people, have experienced too many traumatic events at the hands of police services, and it’s clear that one of the greatest tragedies in our society is the deep-rooted prejudice and systemic racism embedded in the institutions which are supposed to serve us. Police have killed more Indigenous people during the pandemic than COVID-19. It’s clear that system racism is killing our people. Since April, we have witnessed the shooting deaths of Rodney Levi, Chantel Moore, and seen the beating of Chief Allan Adam and others. We should not wish protection from those who are there to protect.

I am supportive of looking at all options to examine and investigate these incidents so that we may eradicate the systemic racism First Nations people experience across this country, including defunding non-Indigenous Police Services and overhauling the whole policing system. There are many resources in front of us that provide roadmaps and recommendations, like the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry or the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP). I note that 2020 also happens to be the 25th anniversary of the shooting of Dudley George, which led to the Ipperwash Inquiry. It pointed us forward with remedies and solution-oriented recommendations. Therefore, I will be calling Premier Ford to ask him to take the long-overdue steps to develop a concrete action plan to implement the Ipperwash Inquiry recommendations. We don’t need more reports or studies. We need action now!

All parties, First Nations leadership, governments and police agencies need to be reaching out to one another and immediately start a respectful dialogue and create the environment to stabilize this current situation and begin to seek solutions. There must be understanding by the police services across the country that they need to be accountable to the very people and communities they serve, patrol and protect. It’s time to make the police officer truly a “peace officer.”

It is essential to harness our collective compassion to create a more just society and root ourselves in truth, understanding and respect. We need investigations into the incidents that have happened, examining the solutions that have been previously provided, and bringing them forward into today’s time. Let’s do this together with a deep and abiding love and care for one another.

The need for change has always been there; it’s especially strong now. Let’s lead our way out of this pandemic, ending many sicknesses, including the systemic racism.

Ninanaskamon!

Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald

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The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.

Media Contact: Scott Cavan, Scott.Cavan@coo.org or cell: 416-522-0706

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