December 3rd, 2020

RCMP needs structural changes to address racism: MMIWG commissioner


By The Canadian Press on November 18, 2020.

Commissioner Michèle Audette listens at the final day of hearings at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Richmond, B.C., on April 8, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

OTTAWA – A commissioner who served on the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls says top-down attitudes and the centralized structure of the RCMP are leading to racist practices against Indigenous people in Canada.

Speaking in French to the House of Commons public safety committee Michèle Audette said there is goodwill from some within the RCMP, but the organization exhibits systemic racism that she has been denouncing for a long time.

She said there should be Indigenous oversight of the RCMP through a civilian body that can listen to complaints and be trusted by the people who make them.

Audette said the mistrust between Indigenous communities and the RCMP exists because the RCMP for decades removed Indigenous children from their families and took them to residential schools.

School curriculums should be modernized to teach Indigenous culture and history to dissipate ignorance, she said, adding that young people want to learn the history of Indigenous Peoples.

Audette said police officers who are well-trained and sensitive can protect Indigenous people and save their lives.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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