OTTAWA, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and AFN Regional Chief for Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Rick Simon today expressed hope for the many families of the almost 600 unresolved cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada following the December 10 verdict in the murder of Mi'kmaq woman Annie Mae Pictou Aquash.
"On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, it is my hope that this verdict will help bring a sense of closure, peace and justice to the family and friends of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash," said AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. "Thirty-five years is far too long to have justice served and many unanswered questions remain. It is essential that we all work together to end violence against Indigenous women. The AFN has stood with First Nation and women's organizations and called specifically on the federal government to work with us on a national action plan to address the root causes of why so many Indigenous women remain unsafe."
Last Friday, the 7th Circuit Court in Rapid City, South Dakota, found John Graham guilty of felony murder in the 1975 slaying of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash. Pictou Aquash was from Indian Brook, Nova Scotia. She was prominent in the American Indian Movement and participated in the 71-day occupation of the South Dakota reservation town of Wounded Knee two years before her death. She was found murdered at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1976.
"Annie Mae will be remembered here in Canada, the United States and around the world for her important role in bringing further attention to the need to end violence against Indigenous women. She was the first to be named in the Sisters in Spirit campaign which has been influential in supporting community-based initiatives to keep Indigenous women safe," said AFN Regional Chief for Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Rick Simon said. "To the families and friends of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across the country, this is a message of hope and inspiration. It is my hope that the strength of Annie Mae and now her family and friends will provide support to the far too many families also seeking justice."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.
For further information: For further information:
Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer at 613-241-6789, ext 401, 613-314-8157 or [email protected].
Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382, 613 292-0857 or [email protected]