Dear Colleagues and friends,
AUFA offers the following statement:
The recent jury-trial acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a young man from Red Pheasant Cree Nation, has caused fear and outrage amongst Indigenous peoples. Athabasca University staff and students may feel the effects of this prominent case, either personally, or as a repetition of systemic violence and discrimination that has dominated the history of settler/colonial relations with Indigenous peoples.
It is understandable that the outcome of this trial will have caused many Indigenous peoples to feel distrust for the justice system, indeed to feel completely abandoned by law and order, and in some cases to fear for their lives. Certainly the possibility of reconciliation, toward which many people have been working very hard, and through which many alliances between settlers and Indigenous peoples have been formed, seems terribly remote now. AUFA stands firm in its commitment to the Calls to Action for Reconciliation.
I am writing, then, as president of the Athabasca University Faculty Association, on behalf of the academic staff and professionals who belong to that association, to affirm our association’s commitment to uphold the basic principles of Human Rights, and to work in whatever way is required to ensure social justice; to promote equity and diversity; to work against racism and discrimination, and to provide a safe working space for all peoples, but in particular at this time, Indigenous staff and students. AUFA does not tolerate hate speech or acts of discrimination, and will continue to actively work to promote fairness and inclusion. Furthermore, AUFA offers its unequivocal support to anyone who experiences hate speech or acts of discrimination.
On behalf of AUFA, I offer heartfelt condolences to Colton Boushie’s family, friends and community, and our support and sympathy to any and all who have been affected by this case.
Jolene Armstrong, President
Athabasca University Faculty Association
Dr. Jolene Armstrong
Centre for Humanities
Athabasca University respectfully acknowledges that we are on and work on the traditional lands of the Indigenous Peoples (Inuit, First Nations, Métis) of Canada. We honour the ancestry, heritage and gifts of the Indigenous Peoples and give thanks to them.