The verdict of "not guilty" in the trial of Gerald Stanley quickly led to strong reactions in some Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across Canada about the injustice present in this verdict. Many Indigenous folks and their allies are speaking about their loss of faith in Reconciliation, instead calling for justice first for Indigenous peoples.
Your students may have questions this week, or perhaps they have not even heard of the trial. I urge you to speak to them about it either way, and to help them inquire into the various issues underlying the case including the history of colonization and racism in Canada. I am grateful to Jenny Kay Dupius, who on Twitter reminded me the importance of not forcing a conversation on Indigenous students too quickly, as many may still be processing their reactions to this. I agree - creating healthy space and respecting boundaries of Indigenous students comes first.
Dr. Dupuis also wrote about the importance of having resources handy for Indigenous students to receive support if they want it. I'm aware that readers are from many different boards, and may have different resources at their disposal - social workers, guidance counselors, mental health workers. I have not yet consulted with Indigenous colleagues on this point, but I wonder if in some cases, looking for culturally relevant supports might be one idea to think about - for instance, does your board employ Elders or traditional teachers? Does it have an Aboriginal or Indigenous Education office? Are they able to offer support? Indeed, this leads to a bigger question - what is your school or school board doing to offer supports to Indigenous students at all?
Below are links to media coverage that I have been collecting. I've also thought of some critical questions we can ask.
- Whose voices are present in this piece? Whose are absent?
- What is the background of the author? How might that influence the point of view of the piece?
- What is the history of colonization in Canada?
- Where is the community Colton Boushie is from located?
- What are the past and present tensions between rural communities in Saskatchewan and First Nation communities.
- How was Boushie's family treated during the investigation? How was the Stanley family treated?
- What was the reaction from the public in Saskatchewan towards the investigation and the trial?
- What is Reconciliation?
Links to Media
March 15,2018 - RCMP investigation sloppy says independent investigator