NWAC supports Cindy Gladue and her family, the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW) and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) as they advocate for Indigenous women across the country at the Supreme Court of Canada on October 11.
At trial, Bradley Barton was acquitted for the death of Cindy Gladue. Cindy Gladue and her family experienced dehumanization during the trial when a part of Cindy’s body was treated as an exhibit, creating a public spectacle of the family’s trauma. The way she was treated in the Canadian court system ignored any Indigenous perspectives in mourning the deceased. There is no excuse for disregarding human dignity in this way. Cindy Gladue is deserving of the highest respect.
Though the Alberta Court of Appeal ordered a new trial, Mr. Barton (who would have stood trial for the murder of Cindy Gladue) appealed the decision from Alberta’s highest court to the Supreme Court of Canada.
At the Supreme Court, IAAW and LEAF will have the opportunity to discuss how racist and sexist stereotypes about Indigenous women do not belong in the Canadian courts, especially trial courts. As Canada grapples with one of the harmful effects of its colonial history—missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people— IAAW and LEAF’s contributions at the Supreme Court of Canada are a meaningful way to change the ways that the criminal justice system treats Indigenous women.
NWAC joins IAAW and LEAF as they stand in solidarity with Cindy Gladue’s family. NWAC echoes IAAW and LEAF’s call for a culturally appropriate proceeding where Cindy Gladue and her family receive the utmost dignity and respect. Together with Indigenous communities across Canada, NWAC mourns the loss of Indigenous women like Cindy Gladue who leave us too soon.