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Lecture 2

WMST 300 Lecture 2: Pamela George

41 pages111 viewsFall 2015

Department
Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
WMST 300
Professor
Sitara Thobani
Lecture
2

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Citation: 15 Can. J.L. & Soc. 91 2000
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Gendered
Pc,
cicl
Violence
and
Spalializecl
Justice:
Re
Murder
of
Pamela
Geo'qe
Sherene
H.
Razack"
To
unmap
literally
is
to
denaturalise
geography,
hence
to
undermine
world
views
that
rest
upon
it.
Richard
Phillips
1
Introduction
On
Easter
weekend, April
17,
1995,
Pamela
George,
a
woman
of
the
Saulteaux
(Ojibway)
nation
and
a
mother
of
two
young
children,
was
brutally
murdered
in
Regina,
a
small
Canadian prairie
city. Beyond
the
fact
that
Pamela
George
came
from
the
Sakimay
reserve
on
the
outskirts
of
the
city,
and
that
she
occasionally
worked
as
a
prostitute,
something
she was
doing
that
Easter
weekend,
court
records
of
the trial
of
the
two
white men
accused
of
her murder
and
media coverage
of
the
event
reveal
few
details
of
her life
or
the
life
of
her
community.
More
is
known
about
her
two
murderers,
young
white,
middle-class men.
Easter
marked
the
first
weekend
since the end
of
their
university
exams.
There
was
a
week
or
so
of
freedom before summer
jobs
began.
Nineteen-year-old
university
athletes Steven
Kummerfield
and
Alex
Ternowetsky
set
out
to
celebrate
the
end
of
term.
They
went
out
drinking
in
isolated
areas
under
bridges
and
behind hockey
arenas,
and
then
cruised
'the
Stroll,'
the
city's
streets
of
prostitution.
Eventually,
after
failing
to
persuade
one
Aboriginal
woman
working
as
a
prostitute
to
join
them
in the
car,
one
man
hid
in
the
trunk. Approaching
her
twice
and
being refused
twice,
they
finally
succeeded
in
persuading
another
Aboriginal
woman,
Pamela
*
I
would
like
to
thank
Mona Oikawa,
Leslie
Thielen-Wilson
and,
especially,
Sheila
Gill,
for outstanding research
assistance, insight
and
dedication,
Barbara
Buckman
for
her
help
in
thinking through
these ideas, the
students
of
the
OISEf/UT
Race
and
Space
graduate
course,
and the
works-in-progress
group
of
the
Western
Law
Professors
of
Colour Conference,
Hawaii
2000
(especially
Adrienne
Davis
and John
Calmore)
for
useful critical feedback.
1
R.
Phillips,
Mapping
Men
and
Empire:
A
Geography
of
Adventure
(New
York:
Routledge,
1997)
at
147
[hereinafter
Phillips].
Canadian
Journal
of
Law
and
Society/Revue
canadienne
droit
et socigt,
2000,
Volume
15,
no.
2,
pp.
91-130.
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92 Sherene
H.
Razack
George,
who was
working
as
a
prostitute
that
night,
to
enter
the
car.
The
two
men
drove
George
to
an
isolated
area
outside
the
city,
a
place littered
with
bullet casings
and
condoms.
Following
oral
sex,
they
took
turns
brutally
beating
her
and
left
her
lying
with
her
face
in
the
mud.
They
then
drove
to
a
fast
food
restaurant
and
later
to
a
cabin
on
Saskatchewan
Beach
which
belonged
to
one
of
their
grandfathers.
The
next morning,
upon
returning
to
town,
they
heard
a
radio
report
describing
a
body
found
outside
the
city.
After both
first confided their
involvement
in the
murder
to
a
number
of
friends
and
to
one
of
their
parents,
one man
left
town
to
take
up
his
summer
job
planting
trees
in
the
Northern
forests
of
British Columbia.
The
other
man
flew
to
the
mountain
resort
of
Banff,
Alberta,
where
he
joined
other white
male
university
athletes
celebrating
the
end
of
term.
In
early
May,
nearly
one
month
after
the
murder,
after
following
a
tip and
having
exhausted
the
list
of
suspects
who
were
mostly
Aboriginal
and/or
of
the
"streets"
of
the
Stroll,
the
Royal
Canadian Mounted
Police
(RCMP) arrested both
men
for
the
murder
of
Pamela
George.
The arrest
of
two
young,
white,
middle-class
men
for
the
murder
of
an
Aboriginal
woman
working
as a
prostitute
sent
shock
waves
through
the
white
population
of
this
small
prairie
city.
At
the
trial
two
years
later,
the
Defense
at
first
tried
to
argue that
Pamela
George
managed
to
walk
away
from
the
isolated
field
and was
killed
by
someone else,
an
Aboriginal
man. They
also
argued
that
since
both
men were
highly
intoxicated,
they
bore diminished responsibility
for
the
beating.
The boys
did
"pretty darn stupid
things,"
2
but
they
did
not
commit
murder.
Both
the
Crown
and
the
Defense
maintained
that
the
fact
that
Pamela George
was
a
prostitute
was something
to
be
considered
in
the
case.
3
The
judge
sparked
a
public
furor
when
he
instructed
the
jury
to
bear
this
in
mind
in
their
deliberations.
The
men
were
convicted
of
manslaughter
and
sentenced
to
six
and
a
half
years
in
prison,
having
already
spent twenty months
in
prison.
The
objections
of
the Native
community
and
some
members
of
the
white
community
stemmed
from
their belief
that
the
crime
was
at
the
very
least
one
of
second
degree
murder
and
that
the
judge
acted
improperly
in
directing
the
jury
to
a
finding
of
manslaughter.
4
Why
write
about this trial
as
spatialized
justice
and
this
murder
as
gendered
racial
or
colonial
violence? Some
readers
of
early
versions
of
this article have
commented that the
prison
sentences for
manslaughter
2
R.
v.
Kummerfield
&
Ternowetsky,
"Transcript
of
12-15,
18-22,
25-28
November,
and
2-5,
9-12,
and
17-20
December
1996"
[1997]
(Regina,
Sask. Prov.
Ct.
[Crim.
Div.])
at
3469
[hereinafter
"Transcript"].
3
Ibid.
at
4755.
4
B.
Pacholik,
"Relief,
and
Anger.
Aboriginal
Spokesman
Demands Appeal" Regina
Leader
Post
(21
December
1996)
Al.
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