Indigenous Justice Group hears from Treaty #3 service providers about First Nations experience in the justice system

Pictured: member of the Indigenous Justice Group.(Photo: Grand Council Treaty #3)

The traditional justice system does not serve the needs of First Nations peoples and will not change unless significant action is taken says Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh

News Release

Grand Council Treaty #3

Grand Council Treaty #3 was host to the Indigenous Justice Group (IJG) over two days in Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation hearing from local service providers in the justice sector about their experiences as First Nations peoples in the provincial justice system.

The Aboriginal Justice Advisory Group (AJAG) was established as an advisory body to provide advice to the Attorney General on matters affecting First Nations Peoples and the justice system. Aboriginal Justice Advisory Group was established pursuant to Recommendation 2 of the Honourable Frank Iacobucci’s report entitled First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries (the Report).

“We had constructive discussion from several different service providers who maintain, as Treaty #3 does that much more needs to be done to address First Nations over-representation in the criminal justice system,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh. “We know that the traditional justice system does not serve the needs of our people, so they must first acquaint themselves with the reality of our situation and now look at ways in which change can occur, and it won’t change unless significant action is taken.”

The Indigenous Justice Group members at the meeting included:

  • Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)
  • Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, Treaty #3 Grand Chief
  • Sylvia Maracle, Executive Director, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC)
  • Elder Barney Batise, Elder Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)
  • Joyce King, Director of the Akwesasne Justice Department for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
  • Kimberly Murray, Ontario's Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Aboriginal Justice

Aboriginal Justice Advisory Group’s membership was reconstituted in 2016 to consist of all Indigenous members. At that time, its name was also changed to the Indigenous Justice Advisory Group (IJAG), which has since been changed to the Indigenous Justice Group (IJG). Indigenous Justice Group is currently comprised of individuals from a variety Ontario First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities in accordance with Justice Iacobucci’s intention for Indigenous Justice Group as expressed in the Report.

To see the full report please visit: First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries

About Grand Council Treaty #3

Grand Council Treaty #3’s overall goal is the protection, preservation, and enhancement of Inherent and Treaty Rights. Grand Council Treaty #3 is 55,000 square miles spanning from west of Thunder Bay to north of Sioux Lookout, along the international border, to the province of Manitoba. It is made up of 28 First Nation communities, with a total population of approximately 25,000.

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