Steven Point, former B.C. Lieutenant-Governor, is one of the speakers participating in the National Indigenous Justice Summit on July 8, 2020. He is pictured here in at TedX Chilliwack on April 13, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Two-day summit calling for justice reform for Indigenous peoples

National Indigenous Justice Summit July 7-8 will explore calls for justice and policing reform

Voices calling for justice and police reform are coming together July 7-8 for a National Indigenous Justice Summit to fight racism against Indigenous people.

A virtual summit on July 8 will see Zoom sessions led by Indigenous thinkers tackling the need for policing reform, Indigenous justice reform and community based calls for action.

“We have an amazing panel of speakers,” said one of the organizers, Ardith ‘Walpetko We’dalx’ Walkem. “It all came together within a space of a week, and was motivated by the fact that there had been more Indigenous people that died as a result of police-involved shootings than of COVID-19 during the shutdown.”

Registration for each session is in the hundreds so far.

The summit sessions will explore changes that need to happen within the justice system to address the overwhelming level of racism faced by Indigenous peoples, including police-involved deaths, over-incarceration and human rights violations.

“Certainly we are seeing a lot of lawyers register, but also members of the public who are convinced there is something not right here,” Walkem said. “I expect to see more than 600 registrants for each session.”

The first part of the justice summit kicks off July 7 at 4 p.m. with ‘Family Calls for Justice’ from the families of Brady Francis, Rodney Levi, Colen Boushie and Chantel Moore.

Keynote speakers for the virtual summit on July 8 include Marion Buller, Steven Point, Beverley Jacobs, Judith Sayers and Niigaan Sinclair.

The summit was organized in partnership with Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, BC First Nations Justice Council, Indigenous Bar Association, Membertou First Nation, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Indigenous Community Legal Clinic (UBC), Testify: Indigenous Laws + the Arts, and more.

Register here for the virtual summit. Registrants for July 7 Family Calls For Justice will get a link to pre-watch the film, Nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, about the death of Colten Boushie and his family’s fight for justice.

READ MORE: Province taking a new approach to justice for First Nations

READ MORE: B.C. Prosecution Service revising guidelines for Crown

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