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Lecture 6

CRM300: Week 6 - (October 9) Policing Marginalized Populations.docx

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Ryerson University
CRM 300
Jennifer Fraser

CRM300-011: Policing Marginal Populations & Midterm Review th Week 6: October 9 , 2013 VIOLENCE AGAINST ABORIGINAL WOMEN - Over 600 missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada [Amnesty Canada estimates – human rights crisis, called for national inquiry but Prime Minister has said it’s not worth it] - Missing sex workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside  Slow police response [no coordination, not very good leadership, poorly organized repsonse] - Missing women along BC’s “Highway of Tears” [since the late 1960’s, a lot of Aboriginal or marginalized women have gone missing while they have been hitchhiking, which is a fairly normal practice in Northern BC]  Slow police response , until the disappearance of a white woman [then there was a huge coordinated response, her story was making headlines, huge search parties, etc. , none of which was done for the 8-10 Aboriginals before her]  Database was keeping track of Aboriginal women and girls who have gone missing, but since 2010, the government funding has stopped, but the organization has basically taken up the police work in organization and collection of data ABORIGINAL WOMEN & THE RCMP - Human Rights Watch report, “Those who take us away: Abusive policing and failures in protection of Indigenous women and girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada” (2013)  Interviews with 50 Indigenous women & girls  Reports of inappropriate incarceration, sexual assault, physical violence, stalking, and verbal abuse perpetrated by RCMP officers  Recommendations:  Establish national inquiry into missing & murdered Aboriginal women  Develop & implement national action plan on Violence Against Aboriginal Women  Establish independent, civilian oversight of RCMP RCMP’S RESPONSE TO HRW REPORT - “The RCMP says it wants to get to the bottom of abuse allegations against its officers in British Columbia involving aboriginal women and girls, but says individuals making the claims must come forward to allow police to conduct a proper investigation.” (CBC News, Feb. 13, 2013) - [victim blaming - shifting the blame from the police officers to the victims for not coming forward; lazy way out. Furthermore, they are asking victims of the institution to come back to the institution. Treating it as an individual problem – wanting the individual to come forward with their individual story, and they will deal with it case-by-case, but there’s clearly something more going on when in combination with Robert Pickton case, the Highway of Tears, etc.] - Photo: 17 year old girl who was repeatedly punched by an RCMP officer while she was handcuffed, BC 2011 SASKATOON FREEXING DEATHS - “Starlight tours” [police come across a man who is intoxicated, pick him up, and drop him off in the middle of nowhere in the middle of winter – driving them to their death] - Neil Stonechild (1990) [were not able to link the police actions with his death] - Rodney Naistus (2000) - Lawrence Wegner (2000) - Darrel Night (2000) – survived [able to come back and tell his story] - Inquests into Stonechild, Naistus, and Wegner’s death [inquests were not able to determine the circumstances of their death; the recommendations were vague, and general such as “we need to improve the relationship between police and the Aboriginal community” but nothing specific to the matter at hand] - [Are these individual officers making bad decisions or is this something part of a bigger picture, what about police culture?] THE COLONIZATION OF CANADA’S ABORIGINAL PEOPLES - Colonialism: The policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers and exploiting it economically [send bodies over to physically take over, and exploiting the land and resources, imposing their ways, laws, norms, etc.] - European “Doctrine of Discovery” [they thought they had the right, as Europeans to take over, to physically remove anyone on ‘their’ land, attack and subjugate them, and basically use them for European purposes, which led to dehumanizing, etc.] - [earliest settlers have described Aboriginals as beasts or savages to dehumanize them, to differentiate them from the Europeans coming in] - “Genocidal” policies  Indian Act, 1876 [gave government total control over everything to do with Aboriginal people; how much land they could have, what they did with their resources, and basically told Aboriginal peoples what cultural practices they could do and not do = attempt to erase their culture & identity]  [if they were caught practicing Aboriginal practices they were not supposed to do, they could be subject to criminal charges, if an Aboriginal woman married a European, she would lose her Aboriginal status]  Residential Schools 1831 – 1998 [voluntary at first, but later on legislation was passed to make it mandatory, and if they disobeyed, the parents could be fined or penalized. At these boarding schools, they were not allowed to “be Aboriginal”: they were given English or French names and not allowed to use their Aboriginal name, they were not allowed to speak their traditional language or wear their traditional clothing of their community, and educated in a way where the intention was to teach them how to be productive at the bottom rung of society. Furthermore there was a lot of sexual, physical, psychological abuse, being punished severely for speaking their language or practicing their tradition in some way]  [this was allowed to go on for such a long time because they were not considered persons, and had no political avenue to address any of these problems]  Granted right to vote & considered “citizens”, 1960 DUNCAN CAMPBELL SCOTT (Deputy Superintendent, department of Indian Affairs (1913 – 1932) - “I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that this country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone. That is my whole point. Our objective is to continue until there is no Indian question, and no Indian department and that is the whole object of this Bill (1920).” [in response to legislation that made residential schools mandatory – they wanted to assimilate them into the European culture, at the bottom rung, by getting rid of theirs entirely] INTERNATIONAL LEGACIES - Controlling disempowering, and exploitative relationship between the Canadian government and Aboriginal peoples [defining them as problematic, passing legislation to assimilate them, segregate them by schools, etc.], - Intergenerational trauma & negative health consequences [high suicide rates in Aboriginal communities that can be linked to this; lots of family violence – lots of Aboriginal adults today would have spent some time in residential schools, therefore taken away from their family and subjected to violence, so they do not know how to act in a family, what family functions and relations are, etc.] - Loss of culture & identity [rare for someone to speak traditional language now, and are unable to communicate with others because the language has been lost, and lots of stigma
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