Statement on Chief Allan Adam’s treatment by RCMP

Chief Allan Adam, of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, has taken leadership on the treatment of Indigenous people by police and spoken about his treatment by the RCMP in March 2020. As a residential school Survivor, leader and advocate for the rights of First Nations, his leadership is welcome, and supported by the Centre. Police oversight of RCMP is slow, does not work well, and British Columbia First Nations have raised issues with the long period of delay for any investigation or review to result in change. 

This is a systemic problem of racism in policing that is now garnering national and global attention. Centre Director Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Aki-Kwe, is concerned the head of the RCMP and others continue to fail to name the problem—systemic racism, disrespect for Indigenous Peoples, and aggressive tactics. Police violence and aggression is particularly unwarranted in this case, when a Survivor such as Chief Adam speaks up to say he refused to be treated with disrespect.  

Chief Adam is a hero for all residential school Survivors—and a justice-seeker for standing up for his rights and the rights of all Indigenous Peoples. Article 7 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNRIP) should guide Canada and the RCMP. Article 7 provides that “Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person.”

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre is troubled by the disturbing video footage and RCMP treatment, and calls on Canadian police and the RCMP to recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples.