Port Alberni, BC, Nuu-chah-nulth Territories: The Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council on Monday denounced the actions of the RCMP in the shooting of Rodney Levi last week on Friday night. The NTC said it stands with Chief Bill Ward of the Metepenagiag, six chiefs in the Wolastoqey First Nation and the New Brunswick AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine in calls to end systemic racism in policing and the senseless killing of Indigenous Peoples. It said: “We demand answers as to why the shooting of Rodeny Levi happened – just nine days after the killing of Chantel Moore.”
Judith Sayers, President of the NTC, said: “We are outraged by the violence and deaths by police in New Brunswick. Within nine days, two Indigenous people were shot and killed senselessly. Our hearts go out to Rodney Levi’s and Chantel Moore’s famiIies and communities.”
Mariah Charleson, Vice President of NTC, said: “NTC demands immediate change in policing. We can’t wait for more inquiries or inquests.”
Sayers added: “We demand immediate meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, [Public Safety] Minister Bill Blair and [RCMP] Commissioner Brenda Lucki so we can collectively determine immediate action that can take place now. Lives are at stake. We challenge them to walk their talk to change things today.”
NTC urgently requested all Chiefs, leaders and Indigenous Peoples to send emails, or make calls to the Prime Minister, the Minister and Commissioner to echo this call for critical action now.
it added: “We also ask all Canadians to support Indigenous Peoples and demand action from the Canadian and provincial governments in policing. Immediate action must be taken to re-evaluate the role of police in responding to crisis situations, as having officers trained to de-escalate situations still results in senseless killings. What we need are trained, unarmed, non-violent first responders to respond to crisis situations involving wellness checks, mental health and addictions. We need people who know how to work with individuals with mental health issues, or let us form teams of people who already have this training to deal with wellness checks and attend mental health incidents.
“First and foremost, this is an act of self-determination. We determine how we care for our communities, but we must acknowledge the legacy of colonialism and the underfunding of our communities in education, housing, health, and economy. Indigenous Peoples must be involved in this re-evaluation and process that will determine further changes for policing in our communities. We must re-examine the First Nations Policing Program, and invest in self-administered Indigenous alternatives. We must also stress that investment in economic and social programs for on and off-reserve members must be part our calls of action.
“Chantel Moore’s tragic death would have been different if the officer knew how to approach a single woman’s door respectfully – without arms and violence – in the middle of the night. Rodney Levi would still be alive if the officers knew how to deal with someone who was having a mental health crisis. These are things we can’t take back, but things we can change in the future to prevent other Indigenous Peoples from the same fate.
“At the foundation of this police violence is colonialism. Chantel and Rodney’s deaths occurred during the same week we saw the senseless beating of Chief Allan Adam and a Dene man, Benjamin Manuel in Yellowknife. Since April, eight Indigenous People have been shot and killed by police. Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins, Stewart Kevin Andrews, Everett Patrick, Regis Korchinski Paquet, Abraham Natanine. This is not including the investigations of police violence in Nunavut. This police violence is a stark reminder that the historical role of policing in forcibly controlling and displacing Indigenous Peoples continues to this day. Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately brutalized, criminalized, and killed as a result of policing in Canada. What is our crime? Being Indigenous.
“We are at a turning point. We must recognize this violence as a problem and work together as Nations to say enough is enough. Not one more life. Systemic racism in Canada exists because of colonialism and the goal of “getting rid of the Indian”. Many things have changed in our relationship with government, but policing has not. From suppressing our culture and ceremonies during the potlach ban to implementing laws that tried to get rid of us, our relationship with the RCMP has been violent since the outset. It is time for the federal, provincial, and municipal governments to recognize systemic racism in policing and take immediate action with Indigenous Peoples to address it.”