Aboriginal Claims of Abuse Emerge in Val d'Or

Recent allegations have surfaced about police officers in the mining city of Val d’Or engaging in a range of inappropriate behaviors with the Aboriginal women population. Claims range from officers trading money and cocaine for sex and other forms of physical and sexual abuse. A specific act of violence carried out involved picking up women who appeared to be intoxicated, driving them out of town and leaving them there to walk home in the cold. 12 Aboriginal people, mostly women, came forward in May reporting the mentioned claims but no action had been taken against the officers involved until Friday when an investigative report broke out on a radio station and described the officers’ misconduct in full detail. (Montreal Gazette)

With the full extent of the allegations made public to thousands of Quebecers, Quebec’s Public Security Minister, Lise Thériault  declared that eight of the 9 officers had been placed on administrative leave and were pending an investigation by the Montreal police. “I’m in shock,” Theriault said in an emotional address to the public; “There are facts in the report that were not all made known to the police” (Montreal Gazette).

The director of Quebec’s Native Friendship Centre network said the core of the problem comes from the transition of indigenous women from their traditional territory to a city environment; this transition puts them in a vulnerable situation where the women encounter racism on a daily basis. Not being rented apartments and discrimination in the workplace are only a few ways in which this racism is exhibited. “(T)hey’re pushed into margins. And once they’re in margins, that’s when people, and sometimes people in a position of authority, prey on that vulnerability,” Sirois says in a comment to the racist tendencies towards aboriginal women (Montreal Gazette).

While these allegations are definitely not the first or last that will be heard of concerning mistreatment of the Aboriginal community, these women who brought the issue into the public sphere, exhibit incredible strengths and courage for those others mistreated to come forward. 

The local community of Val d’Or even held a march on Friday for the Aboriginal women who came forward and gave their accusations against the police. The signs they were holding up included phrases like “demanding justice,” and “grandmother, daughter, wife, sister – stop violence against women” (CBC).

Although there is a long way to go in terms of equal treatment of the aboriginal community, steps are slowly being made in order to help the Aboriginal community, especially women, build and live their lives without adversity.

 

Images obtained from:

CBC article http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/val-dor-police-aboriginal-women-m...

http://www.thestar.com/content/dam/thestar/news/canada/2015/10/23/quebec...

http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/node-images/killing-aboriginal-women...

Information obtained from:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/val-dor-police-aboriginal-women-m...

http://montrealgazette.com/news/montreal-police-to-investigate-aborigina...