FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2022
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is saddened to learn of the death of James Flatfoot, and is demanding a thorough investigation into what led to his demise while in custody.
“First and foremost, I want to extend my condolences to James’ loved ones and to the community of Pine Creek,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “No matter what we eventually learn about his death, I know it will do little to soften the blow of this loss.”
James was a member of Pine Creek First Nation and leaves behind a large circle of family and friends, including a young daughter.
According to published reports and Corrections Canada, James died on Sunday, January 23, 2022 at Stony Mountain Institution. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Coroner’s Office are now investigating.
“Just yesterday I was commenting on the death of William Ahmo from Sagkeeng, while he was in custody, and now we hear about yet another one of our relatives dying while in the care of the so-called justice system,” added Grand Chief Daniels. “My question to those involved in this system is how many more times do we have to hear stories of First Nation men dying in jail?”
In Manitoba, 75 per cent of adults admitted into custody are Indigenous and in the last ten years there has been a 60 per cent increase in the incarceration of Indigenous men.
“One of our mandates at SCO is to create a supportive form of justice delivery for our people, by incorporating traditional systems of governance and law such as our Restorative Justice Program,” stated Grand Chief Daniels. “We need to move beyond the colonial justice system and if we do that, we will reduce the overrepresentation of First Nation citizens within the mainstream criminal justice system, and save lives.”
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 81,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.
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