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‘Nothing else is working’: Indigenous rights lawyer says action needed to fight racism in Canada

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – With the unrest in the United States, some Canadians are looking in the mirror at our problems with racism, especially against Indigenous people.

Between murdered and missing Indigenous women, residential schools, and starlight tours, where Indigenous people were detained by police, taken to the middle of nowhere and left to die, racism in Canada isn’t dead yet.

That’s according to Indigenous rights lawyer Pamela Palmater.

She said demonstrators have taken to the streets to make their voices heard because they’ve tried everything else.

“We advocate, we try to reach out to governments and policing organizations, we advocate in the public, we do public education, we do research. There’s tons, overwhelming data that proves not only there’s racism in Canada but the harm it does to people.”

Palmater talks about the history of the RCMP targeting Indigenous people, saying training alone won’t solve this problem.

She added the reason thousands are marching in the U.S. and Canada is that they feel their concerns are falling on deaf ears.

“Literally, nothing else is working. We’ve been to the United Nations, I don’t know how many times, myself and my colleagues from the United States. The United Nations, different human rights treaty bodies have said both Canada and the U.S. are guilty of gross human rights violations, racism and discrimination. Very little action is taken to stop it.”

She pointed out a lot of the racism black and Indigenous people face is from police, pointing out the UN special rapporteur for violence against women recommended Canada establish an independent police watchdog comprised of a diverse panel with no officers.

A year ago this week, the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls was released calling it an act of genocide in Canada.

Advocates say since that inquiry was released, no action has been taken to address the issue.

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