Historically, First Nations have been victims of the Canadian justice system having suffered from the systemic racism compounded in the ‘delivery of justice’. This has been demonstrated through systemic issues such as racial profiling by enforcement agencies, over representation of First Nation men, women and youth in the correctional facilities, and support programs not culturally competent. In addition, Canada’s judicial legislation and policies have fallen short sighted of addressing the root causes of crime and have failed to institute adequate measures that would support prevention methods for First Nation citizens.
This sector embodies a number of topics and activities ranging from the over-representation of First Nations in the Canadian justice system, the review of legislative initiatives, to the study of alternative approaches to justice and healing. The principle objective of our work is to provide First Nations with a voice in regards to the correctional issues that affect them.
THE ONTARIO ABORIGINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (OAJS)
In 2005, the province of Ontario released its Aboriginal policy document “A New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs” (attached). Its stated intent was to ‘chart a new course’ by providing the basis for a “constructive, co-operative relationship with the Aboriginal peoples of Ontario…that is sustained by mutual respect and that leads to improved opportunities and a better future for Aboriginal children and youth.” Included as part of the new approach was a series of provincially designated ‘new approach initiatives,’ of which the Aboriginal Justice Strategy was but one of eight.
VIOLENCE AGAINST ABORIGINAL WOMEN
In Ontario, First Nations leadership recognized that First Nations women are the most at risk group in Canada for issues related to violence. Through Resolution 10/31 – Government of Canada to Re-Establish its Support for Sisters in Spirit, which was adopted at the Special Chiefs Assembly in November, 2010, leadership made eliminating violence against women a top priority.
THE IPPERWASH INQUIRY: JUSTICE FOR DUDLEY GEORGE
On September 6th, 1995 Anthony “Dudley” George, an unarmed man was shoot by the Ontario Provincial Police and died. He and other First Nation men, women and children had been occupying their ancestor territory which had been appropriated by the federal government for military purposes. The land which was occupied had been transferred by the federal government to the provincial government and was used as a provincial park. This was done after the federal government had promised the people of Kettle and Stony Point it would return the land it had appropriated.
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