We Are All Treaty People

A Statement from the Office of the Treaty Commissioner

  • Published - 24/03/2021
  • |
  • Posted By - OTC
  • |

Share this with others:


The Office of the Treaty Commissioner has long been anticipating the findings and recommendations from the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP’s conduct into the handling of the Investigation of the Death of Colten Boushie and the Events that Followed.

It is crucial to have an independent body to review any police handling of investigations when complaints are made, but it should not have taken more than four years for the family of Colton Boushie to see this small form of justice.

The Commission found, “the police’s conduct towards Ms. Baptiste with respect to her sobriety and her credibility was discriminatory on the basis of her race, or national or ethnic origin.” The Commission also found the RCMP media releases and communications after the killing were found to be suggesting the victim was guilty of wrongdoing.

These releases were seen to stoke the fires of racialized hate speech that continues to be felt. It is important to have the RCMP take responsibility for the way Indigenous people, and the family and friends of Colten Boushie were treated and are still being treated. The hate speech continues and needs to be investigated and prosecuted without hesitation.

We call on the RCMP to implement the Commission’s recommendation that minimum cultural awareness training be provided for all RCMP employees bearing in mind the factors identified in recent inquiries. We want that to go one step further with the RCMP ensuring that cultural awareness training includes information from the calls to justice, the calls to action, and the basic human rights that are enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The OTC is committed to working with the RCMP depot with our speaker’s bureau members to offer cultural sensitivity and worldview training. However, it is only the first, small step one that does not meet the needs required to change systems

They RCMP needs to do better and they must do better and can do better. It is up to the leadership in the RCMP to make the changes. There has to be better recruitment standards. There needs to be in depth training about the history of RCMP and why long-term, fractured relationships with Indigenous people has left a legacy of mistrust. We need education about anti-racism, white supremacy, colonization affects, and about the systems that were forced onto Indigenous people and enforced by the RCMP: residential schools, the child welfare system, and the Indian Act.

It shouldn’t have taken this long to have cultural awareness training for all RCMP staff. It shouldn’t have taken the death of an Indigenous youth to put the wheels in motion to ensure that a policing body that works on reserves across the country has cultural awareness. We need to see the changes now so our children and grandchildren in 20 years don’t need to see history repeating itself. We hope that with this report change can begin so no other family has to be treated with discrimination during an investigation because of the color of their skin and on the land where they are the first people.