London, Ontario December 17th, 2020 – On December 14th Brayden Bushby was convicted of manslaughter for the death of Barbara Kentner.  His conviction, which was reduced from second degree murder to manslaughter, is an insult to this tragedy and is the latest in a long line of behavior that is indicative of racism in our justice system.

Grand Chief Joel Abram states “In the past, while in the Thunder Bay region, I have personally experienced multiple instances of racism from the occupants of a vehicle driving by. It has sickened me to know that not only does it exist but how much of a common occurrence it is. It’s sad, that in this day and age, to hear people making whooping noises at Indigenous people and shouting racist comments, or even throwing objects during a time where you would think there is supposed to be a greater presence of cultural sensitivity.”  Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft adds “It is a fact that racism continues to exist in the justice system. After the tragic loss of life over the past few years including Colten Boushie, Barbara Kentner, Chantel Moore, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, it raises the question as to how many more lives need to be lost before change happens. The argument from Brayden’s lawyer that racism has no connection to this case is completely unfounded when you consider the circumstances of Brayden’s actions.”

The justice system cannot continue on this path of ignorance towards First Nations peoples and must undergo a complete evaluation of their process, methods and state of mind of all those involved.  Judges, Lawyers, and Ministers, must under-go cultural sensitivity training, re-examine all cases that involve Indigenous peoples and make necessary amendments to ensure that justice is actualized.