'We're not disposable': Hundreds march to Reconciliation Bridge demanding justice for Colten Boushie
'I’m ashamed to be Canadian on a day like today,' said attendee Shauna Jimenez
By Sarah Rieger, CBC News Posted: Feb 12, 2018 4:00 AM MT Last Updated: Feb 12, 2018 8:36 AM MT
More than 300 people marched through the cold streets of Calgary on Sunday evening, from city hall to the aptly named Reconciliation Bridge, to support the family of Colten Boushie.
On Friday, a Saskatchewan jury acquitted Gerald Stanley, a white Saskatchewan farmer, in the death of Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man from Red Pheasant First Nation.
"I'm appalled by the racism and I'm ashamed to be Canadian on a day like today," said Shauna Jimenez, one of the attendees at the rally.
She said it was important for her to attend in solidarity with Indigenous people, not just as a Canadian, but as a mother.
Burning sage wafted through the air as Treaty 7 leaders and families of missing and murdered Indigenous women spoke of their fears and anger at what they described as institutionalized and systemic racism displayed during the murder trial.
Boushie was shot in the head after an altercation on Stanley's farm in August 2016.
Stanley testified that he shot Boushie by accident.
Lowa Beebe, one of the march organizers, said the gathering reminded her of the rallies held in memory of Cindy Gladue.
Gladue, a Cree woman and mother of three, was found dead in a bathtub in an Edmonton motel in 2011. Bradley Barton, the suspect in her death, was acquitted of first-degree murder and manslaughter.
"Every time, the rallies get bigger and bigger," Beebe said.
The gathering was one of many held across Canada, with rallies happening at courthouses, police stations and on Parliament Hill.
After Friday's verdict, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his sympathy for the Boushie family.
Just spoke with @Puglaas. I can't imagine the grief and sorrow the Boushie family is feeling tonight. Sending love to them from the US.— @JustinTrudeau
"I'm glad that he's acknowledged it. We'll see what steps are next," Beebe said.
Marchers carried signs reading "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" and "no more stolen lives on stolen land."
Some of the speakers shared stories of lost loved ones, and spoke to hopes that change would be coming.
"I hope it makes it glaringly evident to people the level of racism in all of our systems," Jimenez said.
"It's tragic it has to come to this, but I think it's a horrific wake-up call for everybody that things need to change."
After the rally, organizers tried to cancel the march due to a wind chill that made it seem like -28 C. But the crowd insisted they march anyway.
Carmen Barnes, who attended with her granddaughter, told CBC News that if her grandparents could suffer through Canada's residential schools, she could handle the cold if it meant having her voice heard.
"I hope that people start paying attention to what's going on," Barnes said.
"We're not disposable."
As the sun set, marchers filled the Reconciliation Bridge, which was renamed in 2017 to remove the name of Hector-Louis Langevin, one of the architects of the residential school system.
The bridge shook with the sounds of the drums and song of a round dance, and chants of Boushie's name.
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