Calls for Justice

The calls for justice from the Indigenous Justice Summit. To hear Judith Sayers, organizer of the July 2021 Summit, on the murder of Chantal Moore and how these calls to justice arose, listen to RAVEN (De)Briefs Podcast, Season 2 Episode 3.

This list reflects shared recommendations that have been compiled from the many studies and reports that have been done. It is presented as a starting point for a discussion.


  1. Create a National Indigenous-led Police oversight body, Funded by Canada.
  • With representation of all Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis and including women and two-spirited People, and
  • With broad investigative powers, and
  • Which makes public reports about each incident they investigate.

2. Establish a National Protocol for Police Investigations

  • Set minimum standards for all investigations of serious violent crimes against Indigenous Peoples,
  • Includes special oversight for crimes against Indigenous women, children, and two-spirited peoples, and
  • Includes an accessible, trauma-informed and culturally safe mechanism to review case files and medical examiner or coroner reports where families question the official cause of death of an Indigenous loved one.

3. Redirect “Public Safety” funding to services that increase Community safety

  • Redirect funding for justice services (including police and legal system) that are not working for Indigenous Peoples into community-based resources, and
  • Commit long-term reliable funding to Community-based justice and policing programs that recognize Indigenous laws and jurisdiction to deal with Indigenous peoples’ justice issues and their underlying social causes (i.e., poverty, mental health, lack of housing, substance use, etc.).

4. Implement a multi-pronged Indigenous de-escalation strategy

  • A no-carry policy in Indigenous communities, or in urban areas with large Indigenous populations, and on calls involving Indigenous identified individuals as a first response,
  • Vigorous and ongoing Indigenous trauma-informed de-escalation training and teams for Police, which include Indigenous Peoples and mental health professionals.

5. Establish a National Protocol for Police Engagement with Indigenous Peoples

This national protocol should, at minimum:

  • Comply with Charter principles for engagement by police or others in the justice system with Indigenous land and water protectors and other Indigenous protestors,
  • Recognize the sui generis nature of Indigenous protests relating to the potential of irreversible harm to Indigenous lands and waters in the context of unresolved Aboriginal and Treaty rights claims,
  • Reflect international principles of self-determination and Indigenous title recognition outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).


6. Amend Canadian and provincial/territorial human rights codes to include “Indigenous identity” as a protected ground against discrimination

  • Human rights protections that would allow Indigenous Peoples to access human rights protections against discriminations they face based on their Indigenous identity regardless of the jurisdiction the discriminating actor falls under.


7. Create Indigenous Courts

Indigenous courts should, at minimum:

  • Reflect and implement Indigenous Laws and ways of achieving peace and justice,
  • Be empowered to adjudicate, and sentence, based on Indigenous legal principles, supported by regional Indigenous justice centres,
  • Reflect the direction of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ own laws and right of self-determination, and
  • Ensure inclusion and representation of all Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, so called ‘non-status’, Inuit, and Métis and including women and two-spirited People.

8. Increase Indigenous Representation across all levels of the Criminal Justice system

  • Where there are disproportionate numbers of Indigenous Peoples within the criminal justice system, the level of hiring of Indigenous Peoples within that system at all levels (as Police, Crown, Judges, police commissions, and within the prison and parole systems) should mirror that representation.
  • Commitment to achieving these levels of representation within five years, through concrete support, such as funding and scholarships, and active recruiting, to support Indigenous People working towards these roles.

9. Require Judges to give written reasons in all Indigenous Sentencing Cases

Outline their consideration of the Gladue factors, and

  • Indicate their specific reasoning in each case where any Indigenous person is sent to prison, including how they sought out and considered the perspective of the person’s Indigenous community about rehabilitation and safety options.

10. Require Judges give written reasons in all Indigenous Child Apprehension Cases where a child is placed outside of their Indigenous community

  • Demonstrate how the Indigenous laws and cultural ways of keeping that child safe were considered, including consideration about options to help keep the child within their community and culture, and healing supports that were offered to the family or broader community to keep that child before a decision was made to remove.

With thanks to Patricia Barkaskas, Emma Cunliffe, Ardith Walkem

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