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'Racism is alive and well': Indigenous leaders condemn police shooting of Tla-o-qui-aht woman in New Brunswick

Last Updated Jun 5, 2020 at 7:26 am PDT

(Chantel Moore courtesy GoFundMe)

Indigenous leaders in B.C. are condemning the police for shooting Chantel Moore

They are also expressing solidarity with protests against police brutality, killings in the U.S.

Chantel Moore's death comes almost exactly a year after the National Inquiry into MMIWG released its calls to action

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The 26-year-old woman who died after being shot by police in New Brunswick has been identified as Chantel Moore, a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island.

A GoFundMe page says Moore had recently moved to Edmunston with her mother and her five-year-old daughter.

According to Edmundston police, officers on Thursday were dispatched to do a wellness check after a friend saw “something disturbing on her Facebook page.” While responding to the call, police say she “charged” the officer who was attending “with a knife as soon as the door opened.”

RELATED: B.C. woman dies after being shot by police in New Brunswick

Indigenous leaders in B.C. are condemning the police for shooting Moore, and calling for a full and impartial investigation into how Moore ended up dead.

“A full, independent, and impartial investigation into the shooting death of Chantel Moore must be conducted as soon as possible. Her family deserves answers to the circumstances that led to her tragic death at the hands of the Edmundston Police Department. Indigenous people in Canada face clear systemic racial bias by police forces. This systemic racism must stop, Indigenous lives matter, the lives of Indigenous women and girls matter!” writes Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

They are also pointing out that nation-wide, Indigenous people are disproportionately likely to be killed in police shootings.

“A recent access to information request revealed that one-third of the people shot to death by RCMP officers over a 10-year period are Indigenous, despite indigenous people only making up 5 per cent of the population,” reads a statement.

Terry Teegee, regional chief with the BC Assembly of First Nations, says Moore’s death is part of this pattern.

“I am completely saddened –and also angered and frustrated– that once again an Indigenous person has died under the use of, really, I think excessive police force,” he says.

Moore’s death is a devastating reminder that racism is rampant in Canada and plagues the nation’s institutions, according to Teegee.

“Racism is alive and well in Canada,” he says. “Many minorities have very similar experiences of racism in Canada. It’s within not only general society but in places such as government and also constructs of government, such as police forces. It’s really rampant everywhere.”

News that Moore was killed by police has hit amid protests in the U.S. and worldwide over the police killing of George Floyd.

“The movement and the massive protests speak to the inequalities of what we’re seeing here in many facets of society. Our hearts and minds go out to Geroge Floyd’s family and community and it’s very similar to what we here experience as Indigenous people, as First Nations Inuit and Métis in Canada,” he says.

“I certainly hope that more people go out and peacefully protest to acknowledge and realize, and understand that this is prevalent in Canada. I certainly hope that it’s a groundswell, a movement, a peaceful movement, to see change. We’ve seen many movements over many decades, and we’re still not there.”

In Toronto, protests connected the case of George Floyd to that of Regis Korchinski-Paquet.

Like Moore, Korchinski-Paquet died after police were dispatched for a wellness check. The 29-year-old fell from the balcony of a 24th-floor Toronto apartment while police were in the home.

RELATED: Trudeau government given failing grade for lack of action plan on MMIWG

Teegee also points out Moore’s death comes almost exactly one year after the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its calls to action.

And he says these calls have yet to be heeded by any level of government.

“It is sad that a year ago that the Missing and Murdered Women and Girls inquiry report was released. We were told a year ago that it would take a year for an action plan from the federal government. We’re still waiting and that’s frustrating. Today is not only a sad day for Chantel but for many women because we’re seeing inaction from the federal government, and moreover form the provincial government.”