Sadness, anger mark vigil for Indigenous shooting victim Boushie


At 22, Behdahbuhn Logan is the same age Colten Boushie was when he was shot in the head and killed in Biggar, Sask., in August 2016.

Logan, a Windsor resident originally from what she knows as Bkejwanong (Walpole Island), was one of about 60 Indigenous people and supporters who came out to a vigil Tuesday outside the Ontario Court of Justice building in Windsor to protest last week’s not guilty verdict in the trial of Gerald Stanley.

Stanley, a 56-year-old farmer, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Boushie, a member of Red Pheasant First Nation.

“It’s horrifying,” Logan said of what she views as a lack of justice.

“I’ve been following everything. When I first heard about it I didn’t think it was real. That can’t happen, not in Canada,” she said.

“This has been happening for years, they can let a man get away with straight murder. Just the fact that you can walk around and be Indigenous and have a target on your back.”

She said she has had a large number of friends become addicts as a result of the dislocation they feel from mainstream Canadian society.

“I’ve lost friends who either committed suicide or have been murdered,” said Logan.

“A lot of Indigenous people, myself included, feel like they don’t belong in society at all. Literally no matter what happened in the justice system, we are excluded in so many things. Even in high school I didn’t feel included in things. I felt that I was excluded from things, just because of my identity, because of my heritage. A lot of youth feel that.

“Especially in smaller communities. I have friends that don’t feel any value in doing anything, they turn to drugs and alcohol. They turn to alcoholism and meth and just horrible things.”

Carrying placards such as “Justice 4 Colten” and “We are Anishnaabe!,” the group heard from Logan and a number of other speakers before marching west along Chatham Street East and then back to the courthouse.

Local social justice activist Lorena Shepley provided a rundown of how the trial proceeded. She noted the fact that while the area where the shooting occurred is approximately 40 per cent Indigenous, the entire jury was made up of white people.

She also expressed sorrow at some of the content of comments left on websites carrying stories about the trial.

“If you really want to know the state of our country right now, read the comments under these articles,” Shepley said.

“There are all kinds of people having to deal with this kind of racism, even here in Windsor.”

An emotional Richard Dalkeith, who led the march along Chatham Street, read a statement to the crowd.

“Colten Boushie was murdered in cold blood and is in a grave while his killer has gone free,” said Dalkeith.

Vigil organizer Beth Cook said there will be more events in the coming weeks to protest the not-guilty verdict.

chthompson@postmedia.com

Indigenous speaker Lacey George, right, and her daughter Ella Williams at the Justice for Colten rally on Tuesday outside the Ontario Court of Justice facility in downtown Windsor.

 

Richard Dalkeith leads the Justice for Colten march along Chatham Street East on Tuesday.

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