Racial tensions are flaring in Saskatchewan after the fatal shooting of a First Nations man who relatives say was just looking for help with a flat tire.
Colten Boushie, 22, was killed Tuesday after the vehicle he was in drove onto a farm in the rural municipality of Glenside, west of Saskatoon.
Boushie’s cousin, Eric Meechance, said he and three other friends were also in the car, heading home to the Red Pheasant First Nation after an afternoon spent swimming at a river.
But Meechance said they had a tire blow out and that’s how they ended up at the farm.
“That guy just come out of nowhere and he just smashed our window,” said Meechance.
Meechance said they tried to drive away, but ended up colliding with a parked car. He then ran for safety as gunshots rang out.
“Running is probably what saved all of our lives, you know, because if he’s going to shoot one, he’s probably would have shot us all,” he said.
“He wasn’t shooting to scare us. He was shooting to kill.”
Gerald Stanley, 54, is charged with second-degree murder. He is to make his next court appearance in North Battleford on Aug. 18. …
First Nations leaders say the RCMP news release about the shooting was biased.
The first police news release said that people in the car had been taken into custody as part of a theft investigation.
Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said the RCMP statement “provided just enough prejudicial information” for people to draw the conclusion that the shooting was somehow justified.
“The messaging in an RCMP news release should not fuel racial tensions,” he said. …
Robert Innes, a University of Saskatchewan indigenous studies professor in Regina, said the situation shows the community divide.
“You can see that the racial tension is basically a tinder box in Saskatchewan,” said Innes.
Speaking generally, Innes said some farmers are blaming First Nations people for rural crime. Their mentality is to protect their property, he said.
“So there’s this real fear and contempt towards indigenous men by many white people, to the point where they will shoot before asking questions.”