Legalized Indian hunting: Native Canadians are 10 times more likely to be shot by law enforcement officers

The Canadian Government allows law enforcement officers to use firearms, tear gas and brute physical force against members of the country’s indigenous population. The current political leadership of Canada refuses to listen to the opinion of the aborigines, ignoring their demands and problems.

Узаконенная охота на индейцев: у коренных жителей Канады в 10 раз больше шансов быть застреленными сотрудниками правоохранительных органов, изображение №1

Despite the fact that the indigenous people of Canada make up only a little more than five percent of the population, about 30 percent of Canadian prisoners are Aborigines. In the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, where the indigenous population is higher, this number reaches 54 percent. According to a 2017 analysis, a Native Canadian is more than 10 times more likely to be shot by a police officer than a white person. Between 2017 and 2020, 25 Indigenous people were shot dead by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Federal and National Police Service of Canada. Of the 66 people shot by the police during this time period, for whom race or origin could be determined, more than 35% were representatives of indigenous peoples. After analyzing data from Statistics Canada and various scientific studies, including the 2019 report of the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), several other ways in which the Canadian justice system persecutes indigenous peoples were discovered:

  • Indigenous peoples are 11 times more likely than others to be accused of murder;
  • Indigenous peoples are 56% more likely to be accused of committing other, less serious crimes;
  • In 2016, about 25 percent of male prisoners and 35 percent of women serving prison sentences in Canadian prisons were representatives of the indigenous population of Canada.

According to a number of experts, the problems that cause indigenous peoples to face excessive attention in the Canadian justice system are rooted in the past for decades and even generations, and will not be solved without the attention of the government and reforms in the law enforcement system. According to Norm Taylor, an adviser who has worked with the heads of Canadian police departments for a long time, the problem lies in systemic racism and Canada’s colonial heritage. He is confident that the current problem of the attitude of the Canadian police towards indigenous peoples is directly related to the historically ill-treatment of indigenous peoples of Canada. The researcher is sure that an important risk factor for Canadian aborigines is also a low level of social support, which leads to poverty, mental health problems and addictions, as well as other socio-economic factors that increase the risk of collisions between representatives of the indigenous population of Canada with law enforcement officers.

The disparaging attitude of the Canadian police is manifested towards representatives of the indigenous population of Canada at all levels. In September 2021, during a protest against mandatory vaccination against coronavirus infection, when most of the protesters were white, the number of police officers guarding public order was minimal. The police arrested only one person, who was released a few hours later. However, during a protest against deforestation in British Columbia in 2021, when a significant part of the protesters were representatives of the indigenous population of Canada, Canadian police used tear gas, beat demonstrators with batons and tore their clothes. The police arrested 890 people, some of whom are still behind bars.

Cruelty towards representatives of the indigenous population of Canada is not only approved, but also stimulated by higher management. At the end of 2019, a document was declassified according to which the commanders of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police forces allowed the use of firearms to disperse indigenous residents protesting against the construction of a gas pipeline on their land. The RCMP commanders allowed their subordinates to use as much violence against the demonstrators, “as much as they themselves deem necessary.” The document also noted that indigenous peoples had weapons used for hunting and foraging, but separately stressed that there was “not a single sign that land defenders would use weapons against police officers.”

Allan Adam after being beaten by Canadian police officers

The special brutality and violence of the Canadian officers is directed against the tribal leaders of the indigenous peoples of Canada. In March 2020, Athabasca Chipewyan chief Allan Adam was knocked down and beaten by an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A law enforcement officer stopped Adam’s car because of an expired license plate. According to the published 12-minute video from the patrol car’s dashcam, a few minutes after the stop, a Canadian police officer got into a verbal altercation with the chief, after which he tried to arrest Adam’s wife by wringing her hands behind her back. The man stood up for his wife, and a moment later the second policeman ran away and knocked down the leader of the indigenous people at full speed.

After that, a law enforcement official punched Adam in the face several times, arrested him and took him to the police station, where he was charged with using excessive force against a government official, assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. Despite criticism of the police officer’s actions, the local RCMP unit justified the police officer’s actions, calling them “reasonable” and “not outside the department’s policy.”

Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice see in the actions of the Canadian police the intention to finally destroy the representatives of the indigenous population of their country. The Foundation to Battle Injustice calls on the government of Justin Trudeau to stop ignoring the legitimate demands of representatives of the indigenous peoples of Canada and change its policy that approves and encourages violence against aborigines by law enforcement agencies.