As Gerald Stanley’s murder trial nears its end, the chief of the Red Pheasant First Nation is casting doubt on the potential for a fair outcome.
“We are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the murder trial of Gerald Stanley, however, we are not hopeful that we will see justice done,” Chief Clinton Wuttunee wrote in a media release issued Wednesday evening.
Stanley is charged with second-degree murder in the August 2016 death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old man from Red Pheasant. Boushie was shot and killed after he and a group of friends pulled onto Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask.
The jury in Stanley’s trial is expected to hear closing arguments Thursday, then get its instructions from the judge and begin deliberations.
Wuttunee wrote that Boushie’s death has been hard on the Boushie family, the other young people who were in the vehicle the day he was killed and the wider community.
“The untimely death of yet another First Nations youth has had a far-reaching impact on the people of Red Pheasant First Nation and in the First Nations community throughout the province,” he wrote.
Stanley’s trial began on Jan. 29. Wuttunee wrote the proceedings have left his community dismayed.
“The events surrounding the killing of Colten, and now the story we witness unfolding in the Stanley trial, serves to remind First Nations people that our lives are less valuable than the lives of non-First Nations people.”
Wuttunee said he viewed Boushie’s case as stemming from the same problems that led to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Canada’s residential school era and the current National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
“At Red Pheasant we see all of these proceedings as being connected as they result from the same source: The racist responses from the larger community to the plight experienced by First Nations people. We hope for more from the Canadian people.”