(Ottawa — March 8, 2018) In the days and weeks since the not-guilty verdicts in the murders of Colten Boushie and Tina LaFontaine, public attention has been drawn to the legacy of racism and colonialism within Canada and the challenges of seeking justice. These two recent cases need to be seen in the light of a justice system in which a disproportionate number of Indigenous men and women are represented in Canadian prisons, of the inter-generational trauma resulting from the residential school system, and the continuing legacy of racism and discrimination directed towards Indigenous peoples.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has been made aware of incidents in which Aboriginal academics and their allies who have spoken out in the wake of the court decisions have been subjected to expressions of hate. There can be no justice and no reconciliation unless we acknowledge the truth of our history, the wrongs committed against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada, take steps to address the legacy of colonialism in the justice and education systems, and ensure that the experiences, voices, cultures, and knowledges of Indigenous peoples are recognized, affirmed and welcomed.
CAUT urges the Canadian Government to follow through on the Calls to Action as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report. CAUT is committed, and encourages all of its members, to work with Indigenous colleagues and communities to challenge racism, discrimination and colonialism wherever it takes root. Justice requires that we all do our part.