State Violence, Forced Child Removals and DIC 4g - "Those who take us away"


‘Those who take us away’

On colonised ground, the function of the police is inseparable from the apparatus of occupation. On the frontier, police operated as a paramilitary force that both actively participated in and sanctioned acts of extreme violence  against Indigenous people, especially women and children. In addition to acts of killing, rape and forced dispersal, the police in Australia, as in Canada, participated in the removal of children from their families well into the twentieth century.

The ‘Broken Trust’ report released in December 2018 details historical and contemporary distrust between Indigenous communities in and around Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay Police Service in Canada, which is notorious for systemic racism. One Human Rights Watch investigation also documented Indigenous women’s accounts of police neglect when they reported domestic violence, as well as experiences of harassment and assault by police in Saskatchewan. Another Human Rights Watch report ‘Those Who Take Us Away Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada’ documents ongoing police failures to protect Indigenous women and girls from violence as well as violence perpetrated by police against them.


‘An Aboriginal woman stated that while she was in police custody in Townsville police officers alternated between saying ‘should we rape her’ and ‘should we hang her.’

Behrendt, 64

‘In terms of my faith in the court system, I believe that the police and the judicial system is designed to protect the perpetrators and get them the easiest sentence. There’s no support, there’s no validation, they sure as hell don’t believe Aboriginal women.’

Quoted in ‘Systemic responses continue to fail and traumatise Aboriginal Women who survive violence’

Citing one of their participants, they stated “[there is no trust. [The police] either rape you or arrest you. The cause is racism and discrimination.(Bourgeois 1443)

‘Police kill Native women at higher rates than other groups of women. Cops are part of the problem and cannot be part of the solution to MMIW, they are perpetrators in our communities that must be banished. And we must stand with our relatives murdered by police, such Sarah Lee Circle Bear and Loreal Tsinigine.’

The Red Nation, Statement on May 5 #MMIW Remembrance Day


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