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Updated: 31st December 2018 04:31

'Tired of the excuses': U of L Indigenous studies professor calls for review following Boushie verdict

A professor of Indigenous studies at the University of Lethbridge says she's been flooded with messages of outrage and anger since Gerald Stanley was found not guilty Friday in the shooting death of a 22-year-old Cree man, Colten Boushie.

Linda Many Guns wants a full examination into how the Canadian justice system treats Indigenous people

Debbie Baptiste, the mother of Colten Boushie, holds up a picture of her son as she leaves the courthouse during the trial of Gerald Stanley, the farmer who was later acquitted in the death of the 22-year-old Indigenous man, in Battleford, Sask. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

Linda Many Guns' inbox has been flooded with messages of outrage and anger since Gerald Stanley was found not guilty in the Saskatchewan shooting death of a Cree man, Colten Boushie.

The University of Lethbrige Indigenous studies professor said when she heard Friday's verdict, she was hit by a tidal wave of emotions.

"Disappointment, dismay, hurt for the family," she said. 

Many Guns believes that if the tables were turned, the outcome would have been different. 

"If [Boushie] had been holding the gun, he would have been found guilty. Probably without a trial — he would've been convinced to [plead guilty]."

Colten Boushie, left, was fatally shot in August 2016. Gerald Stanley, right, was found not guilty on Friday. (Facebook/Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

Calling for full-scale review

Many Guns said Indigenous people have always been treated differently — unfairly — in the justice system, and she's had enough.

"It would be wonderful to see a whole review, right from top to bottom, of justices' treatment toward aboriginal people as victims and people that are accused," she said.

University of Lethbridge professor of Indigenous studies, Linda Many Guns, is calling for a full review of how the Canadian justice system handles cases involving Indigenous people. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC)

'Assist and make it better'

Travis Plaited Hair, executive director of Lethbridge's Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Friendship Society, attended a rally Sunday in Lethbridge protesting the decision and showing solidarity for Boushie's family. He attended with a group of Indigenous youth.

He said some young people may be feeling let down by the verdict but wants them to know that positive actions will have a bigger impact. 

"It's always good to step back, exhale, educate yourself on the issue and then come up with your own opinion and way to assist and make it better," he said.

Travis Plaited Hair, executive director of the Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Friendship Centre, says he's encouraging Indigenous youth to educated themselves and look for positive ways to make change. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC)

'Tired of excuses'

Many Guns believes the rallies across the country on the weekend protesting the decision are the beginning of a groundswell in Canada. 

"I don't think this is going to stop until the justice system starts to make some changes," she said. "I think people are tired of the excuses, and I don't think it's acceptable. This is Canada, this is 2018. It's time we started to treat all the people that live in Canada in a just way."

Many Guns says it's important that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike continue to voice their outrage over inequality in the Canadian justice system and push for change.

About the Author

Lucie Edwardson


Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary. Lucie most recently headed a pop-up bureau in Lethbridge, Alberta. Her experience includes newspaper, online, TV and radio. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson

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