Small Yukon First Nation bans sex offenders from using its COVID emergency law

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Tizya-Tramm said when news hit the small community that Schafer, whom the First Nation called a “recidivist violent sex offender,” might return, “the emotions and pain were visceral.”

He said the emergency declaration was the only tool available to “slow down this process”.

“I am not here to pass judgment on Mr. Schafer. I’m here to fix the systemic problems with our (system) of justice that is not allowing our people…a modicum of influence in the larger workings of the justice system, which continues to fail Yukoners and our indigenous women across the country. ”

He said the community had already tried to reinstate Schafer to Old Crow and provided the court with details of what supports would be needed.

The chief said he is in contact with Schafer’s family and there is a willingness to work on another plan, but the community needs more time and support.

For now, Schafer remains in jail in Whitehorse and will appear before a judge on Wednesday to continue discussions about his future.

Chief Doris Bill of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation in Whitehorse said similar situations have happened in other small communities where people are being released from prison without proper support or reintegration plans.

“It has to stop. We need to give communities the resources to deal with these cases,” she said.

“They can’t be left on their own and take care of these people without the proper expertise and resources in place.”

Tizya-Tramm said he wanted an apology and a public inquiry into what happened. He sent a letter to federal Justice Minister David Lametti, Territorial Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Michael Cozens, Chief Justice of the Territorial Court of Yukon.

“We do not and will never tolerate such institutionalized indifference that deprives the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, our citizens and the Old Crow community — especially Indigenous women and girls — of our inherent rights and freedoms to survive and live in dignity, well-being, peace and security in our land,” the letter reads.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the firm said McPhee would respond to Tizya-Tramm’s letter.

A “hub,” comprising counselors and a mental health nurse based 400 kilometers away in Dawson City, supports Old Crow with staff visiting the community regularly, the statement said.

“The ministry is working directly with the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation to coordinate mental wellness education and supports, in addition to guest counselors, which aim to meet the specific needs of the community as well as Vuntut Gwitchin citizens at Whitehorse,” the statement said.

– By Ashley Joannou in Vancouver

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 11, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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