UNION OF ONTARIO INDIANS

UNION OF ONTARIO INDIANS

May 30, 2005 15:04 ET

Anishinabek leader praises Kingston police study

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor NIPISSING FIRST NATION --(CCNMatthews - May 30, 2005) - Grand Council Chief John Beaucage says a controversial study showing that police are more likely to stop aboriginal people is welcome, but overdue.

"It validates concerns the First Nation community has been raising for years," he said.

Produced from information collected by Kingston police officers, the report indicates that blacks were three times more likely than whites to be stopped by police, and aboriginal people were 1.4 times more likely to be stopped.

Kingston Police Chief William Closs was close to tears when apologized to the black and aboriginal communities of the eastern Ontario city for findings that indicate his officers were singling out minorities for unfair treatment.

Grand Council Chief Beaucage congratulated Chief Closs, and urged other Canadian police chiefs to acknowledge that racial profiling exists in their jurisdictions and begin work to ease strained relations with visible minorities.

"I would like to applaud Chief Closs for his courage and vision, and for raising awareness of this problem," Beaucage said. "We want to encourage Greater Toronto Area Police to follow up with a similar study and take action."

A 2003 report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission found police in Toronto engaged extensively in racial profiling, particularly among blacks and aboriginals, and called for the creation of a government body to work towards ending the practice.

The Union of Ontario Indians was a partner in the 2004 Debwewin anti-racism project in which racism was identified as a significant problem in surveys of three northern Ontario cities - Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, and Timmins. Many aboriginal respondents said they had either personally been targets of racism by police officers, or had witnessed racist actions by police officers.

The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.
/For further information: JAMIE MONASTYRSKI
Communications Officer, UOI
705-497-9127 (2290)/ IN: JUSTICE, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • BOB GOULAIS, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE GRAND COUNCIL CHIEF, UNION of ONTARIO INDIANS
    Primary Phone: 705-753-9575
    Secondary Phone: 705-497-9127 ext. 2249
    E-mail: goubob@anishinabek.ca