OTTAWA, April 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and AFN Alberta Regional Chief Cameron Alexis will attend two separate gatherings today in support of justice for Cindy Gladue who was found dead in Edmonton in June 2011. Following a month long trial, Bradley Barton was found not guilty.
"I am outraged by the original decision. First Nations people from across Canada are outraged by the original decision. And while the appeal announced today is a necessary step, this stands as one too many examples of systemic discrimination towards First Nations people," said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde who will attend a support rally in Saskatoon this afternoon.
A number of rallies are taking place across the country today calling for justice in the case of Cindy Gladue and to honour her life and memory. Gatherings are being held in Calgary, Lethbridge, St. Paul, Ottawa, Toronto, Regina, St. John's and in a number of other areas.
"We are far too often underrepresented on juries and overrepresented in jails. Decisions like this send a devastating message to Indigenous women: 'It says Cindy Gladue and other indigenous women, your lives don't matter'," said National Chief Bellegarde. "We need fundamental change so that the justice system is accessible, respectful of the victims of violence and their families. We are simply seeing too many of our people coming into harm and to that we say 'enough.' First Nations want to work toward First Nation-controlled justice systems based on respect for human rights and Indigenous rights. This is part of our work toward real reconciliation."
AFN Executive Committee members are attending events as possible across the country. AFN Alberta Regional Chief Cameron Alexis, who oversees justice issues and action on missing and murdered Indigenous women for the AFN, is attending a demonstration in Edmonton this afternoon.
"Violence against Indigenous women is not just a First Nations issue, it is a Canadian issue," said Regional Chief Alexis. "It a national tragedy and that requires urgent action. Our work will continue at the national level to seek a National Inquiry on root causes of violence and to develop coordinated action across all jurisdictions, including implementing commitments of the recent National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls."
For more information on work toward an action plan to end violence and support for a National Public Inquiry please visit: http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/policy-areas/i-pledge.-end-violence.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
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