Red Deerians gathered outside of City Hall Monday evening for a rally over the not guilty verdict handed down in a Saskatchewan murder trial Friday in the death of Colten Boushie.
A jury found Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley not guilty of second degree murder in the 2016 death of Boushie, a young Indigenous man from Red Pheasant First Nation.
The verdict has since sparked anger, sadness and protests across the country, including right here in Red Deer.
“The message that we want to get across to people is that we’re not going to let this happen anymore. We’re not just going to sit around and have our people murdered. Enough is enough,” said Heidi Coltman, organizer of the Colten Boushie rally.
This has also struck a chord for Canada’s Indigenous people, who are calling for changes in the justice system.
Coltman added that she feels like there are a lot of oppressive structures within the judicial system, saying that it played a huge role in this trial and a lot of trials involving Indigenous people.
“There’s no representation, there’s nothing for us,” she said.
Boushie was killed on Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask. when a bullet from Stanley’s handgun was shot through Boushie’s head. The trial for Stanley heard that Boushie, 22, was shot while sitting in an SUV that had been driven onto Stanley’s farm.
Stanley, 56, had testified that he had fired warning shots to scare the group off, and that the fatal shot occurred when he reached into the SUV to grab the keys out of the ignition, and his gun, “Just went off.”
Others, too, marched to Red Deer’s courthouse, expressing their concerns, including Krystal Waldo and Skylar Remple.
“It’s important to me because it’s proof that there are still a lot of injustice and social issues around what happens to Indigenous individuals in our country. Marches like this show that we are with those that suffer injustice, that don’t have the voices that they should have had,” said Waldo.
Remple added, “I think that they are forgotten about a lot of the time and we really need to fight for justice and we need to stand together as a community and support these people.”
-with files from the Canadian Press