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Sask. RCMP ‘Fueled Hate’ After Indigenous Man Shot Dead, Say Chiefs

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says Saskatchewan police fanned racist flames by focusing on alleged theft, not the killing of Colten Boushie.
Colten Boushie photo via Facebook

A 22-year-old First Nations man was shot dead on a Saskatchewan farm on August 9, and farm owner Gerald Stanley has been charged with second degree murder. Now a First Nation group has called out the RCMP's response to Colten Boushie's killing for stirring up "racial tensions."

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations released a statement condemning the RCMP's choice of words in a next-day press release. The statement said three passengers in Boushie's car were taken into custody "as part of a related theft investigation," adding another male youth "is being sought." The federation says allegations that Boushie and his friends were attempting to steal from the farm played into racist attitudes.


"It fueled a lot of hate from people who have racist tendencies anyways. That's what it served to do," said vice chief Kimberly Jonathan. Chief Bobby Cameron added the release "provided just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified."

The RCMP held a press conference in response to the FSIN.

"It is deeply concerning to us as the provincial police service to hear one of our media releases categorized as biased and not in line with the relationship with the FSIN and all the communities we serve," said superintendent Rob Cameron of the RCMP.

Jonathan said the alleged theft was played up in media reports. "There's a young man dead. It doesn't matter if you're Indigenous or non-Indigenous, whatever. There's a person dead and you're talking about the theft? And that's what the media picked up on—the theft."

Boushie's family said he was shot in the head while his girlfriend, uncle and friends were in the car. His uncle Alvin Baptiste Sr. told CBC they approached the farm to ask for help with a tire.

Image via Facebook

A Facebook page for local farmers has drawn comments defending Stanley's actions. "His only mistake was leaving three witnesses," reads one. "He should have shot all 5 and been given a medal," says another.

The Indigenous community is outraged over these and other posts they consider racist and people are asking for groups like the Saskatchewan Farmer's Group to be removed from Facebook because of these comments.


The RCMP told the press they take these comments on social media seriously.

"Over the past few days there have been comments made on social media that are both concerning and could be criminal in nature," Cameron said. "It's understandable that during a situation like this, emotions run high but it's important to let the court process run its course. Therefore I ask everybody to remain respectful in their online communications."

RCMP say they will be meeting with the FSIN to address the issues raised and come to a better solution so that something like this doesn't happen in the future.

Colten Boushie's funeral is scheduled to happen today on Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan.

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