Christa Big Canoe: Shocking verdict in Native woman's murder

A rally in Edmonton, Alberta, today sought justice for Cindy Gladue, a woman from the Photo by Tracy Alikamik / Facebook

Attorney Christa Big Canoe, the advocacy director of the Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, discusses the trial into the June 2011 murder of Cindy Gladue, which resulted in the acquittal of the defendant:
Cindy died four years ago. Her body is not whole in its resting place. In any other context this could be seen as desecration of her remains, but in this judicial process it is called preservation of evidence. It is simply horrific. It appears that the court did not contemplate Cindy's dignity, death rites, or any indigenous perspective on caring for the dead.

Cindy's remains are still being held as evidence. I hope that they do not get tendered or admitted as an exhibit should the Crown appeal the decision and be granted a new trial.

Like others, I hope that Cindy can be made whole and she receives proper ceremonial death rites.

Cindy's family was in the courtroom. The mere thought of Cindy's loss of privacy and dignity must have been heartbreaking for them. When families of victims steel themselves and commit to witness justice for their loved one, any court process can be difficult.

I am not looking forward to a future where justice includes dehumanizing victims. I am really hopeful that the murder trial of Cindy Gladue is not the starting point in which we will see the use of intimate body parts as evidence as a normal part of the process.

This trial exemplifies how the Canadian legal system does not adequately address indigenous concerns and protocols; refuses to protect those we know are most victimized; and shows that the justice system is not resolving the sociological phenomenon of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Get the Story:
Christa Big Canoe: Cindy Gladue suffered her last indignity at murder trial (CBC 4/2)

Another Opinion:
Jen Zoratti: 'Stop warring on our women': rally for Cindy Gladue (The Winnipeg Free Press 4/2)

Also Today:
Cindy Gladue murder case: Alberta Crown appeals acquittal (CBC 4/2)
Crown seeks new trial in Cindy Gladue murder case after Bradley Barton acquitted (The Edmonton Journal 4/2)
Cindy Gladue case: Why the not-guilty verdict has sparked outrage (CTV 4/2)
Cindy Gladue Case: Rallies Across Canada Seek Justice For Slain Aboriginal Woman (The Huffington Post 4/2)
Bradley Barton found not guilty in death of Cindy Gladue (CBC 3/18)

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