NEWS RELEASE: RCMP shoot First Nations man in Nuu-chah-nulth territory; Indigenous leaders demand answers and change
For Immediate Release
Nuu-Chah-Nulth-Nation Tribal Council
(Nuu-chah-nulth, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories – March 1, 2021) The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Pacheedaht First Nation and the First Nations Leadership Council are calling for a fully independent and transparent investigation into a police shooting that has resulted in the death of a 28-year-old member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council must be involved in every step of the investigation.
On the night of February 27, a young man located on the Opitsaht reserve, one of three communities of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, was shot dead by a member of the Tofino detachment of the RCMP who was responding to a call for assistance from a female individual. The community of Opitsaht is located on Meares Island, across the inlet from Tofino and is only accessible by boat.
We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to all of the families and communities impacted by this tragic event.
Less than one year ago on June 4, 2020, another member of the Tla-o-qui-aht, Chantel Moore was senselessly killed on a wellness check by the police. The Hawiih (hereditary chiefs) and elected Council of Tla-o-qui-aht released a statement (attached) seeking answers on why she was shot during a wellness check and set out a list of demands that were never responded to. The requests put forward including for mandatory police body cameras would leave less doubt about the use of deadly force and hold all accountable for their actions. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council also issued a statement calling for immediate answers. We are devastated and angered that the RCMP did not and have not listened.
The use of deadly force by Canadian police forces against Indigenous peoples is an epidemic in this country. There have been numerous inquiries, studies, reports, and a First Nations Justice Strategy in BC created to address the need for justice reform. Despite this, our citizens continue to die as a result of police shootings. The lack of action on implementing these proposed solutions means more senseless shootings.
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Pacheedaht First Nation and the First Nations Leadership Council are calling for a truly transparent investigation into this incident, and for transparency in the inquest that will follow the investigation by the Independent Investigation Office (IIO). We call for an Indigenous person to be appointed to the IIO process, and we firmly demand that supports be in place for the family as they go through this heartbreak. Ultimately, we seek the necessary justice reforms that will end tragic deaths such as this.
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) provides programs and services to over 10,000 registered members. The role of the NTC is to represent 14 First Nations in three regions stretching 300 kilometers of the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island from Brooks Peninsula in the north to Point-no-Point in the south. The NTC represents Ahousaht, Ditidaht, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint, Hesquiaht, Hupacasath, Huu-ayaht, Kyuquot/Checklesaht, Mowachaht /Muchalaht, Nuchatlaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Toquaht, Tseshaht, Uchucklesaht and Ucluelet First Nations and provides a variety of programs and services to them. For more information, please visit www.nuuchahnulth.org.
For more information on the Pacheedaht First Nation, please visit http://pacheedahtfirstnation.com
The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), First Nations Summit (FNS), and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). For more information, please visit www.bcafn.ca, www.fns.bc.ca, and www.ubcic.bc.ca.
For further information, contact:
Judith Sayers, NTC President (250) 415-0387
Moses Martin, Chief Councillor, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (250) 725-3233
Annette Schroeter, BCAFN Communications Officer, (250) 962-1603.
Colin Braker, FNS Communications Director, Phone: (604) 328-4094
Ellena Neel, UBCIC Communications Manager, Phone: (778-866-0548)
Attachment: Tla-o-qui-aht Statement re. Chantel Moore’s Murder (June 2020)