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RCMP apology: More than 50 years after Yukon woman's death, questions remain

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The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

Emily Blake

Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard, commanding officer of the Yukon RCMP, addresses the media in Whitehorse on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. RCMP in the Yukon have apologized to the family of an Indigenous woman for failing to properly investigate her death more than 50 years ago.
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 , Yukon RCMP Commander Scott Shepard addresses the media in Whitehorse. Her RCMP in the Yukon has apologized to the Indigenous woman's family for failing to properly investigate her death more than 50 years ago. Photo by Mark Kelly /The Canadian Press

Families search for answers even after RCMP apologizes The death of an Indigenous woman over 50 years ago has not been adequately investigated.

Her 26-year-old Kaska member of the Liard First Nation and mother of four children, her Tootsie Jimmy-Charlie, went missing in 1967. became.

Weeks after her loved ones expected her to return to her home from Whitehorse, the RCMP found her body in a city dump. I let them know it was done.

On Friday, the Yukon RCMP apologized to Jimmy Her Charlie's friends and relatives at her Kwan Lindang Cultural Center in Whitehorse for failing to properly investigate her death.

Jimmy Charlie's sister, Anne Maje Raeder, who attended the apology, said her family had mixed feelings, including relief and anger.

Maje Raider said he hopes the RCMP's commitment to change and improve relations with indigenous peoples means that such things will never happen again.

"The only thing we can pray for now is that Indigenous women will not be racist and that the RCMP will respond quickly and search immediately." said 16-year-old Maje Raider. when her sister died.

Maje Raider said she remembers her older sister, who was one of her 14 children, as her loving mother.

"She was very caring, considerate, and adored her children," she said.

"She was always very slow to put on make-up. We always joke that she likes to take her time with make-up.

Chief of Staff, Yukon RCMP Commander Scott Shepherd said it was the police's job to complete a thorough investigation and that "it wasn't done." The experience did not live up to the standards of our policies and procedures today, and we were not the police service you needed or deserved."

In a statement that preceded the apology, Jimmy Charlie's family said the police investigation into her death was inadequate and that the coroner's report showed bias against Indigenous peoples.

The report described the discovery of her body as "unharmed" and determined that her death was the result of "bad luck" in which alcohol and exposure played a significant role. The family has asked for the "embedded racism in the report" to be removed.

``To this day, the Whitehorse dump remains far from all. No one," Jimmy Charlie's daughter, Darlene Jimmy, wrote in a statement.

The RCMP's apology is based on a national survey of missing and murdered Indigenous women in 2017 and 2018, in which several members of Jimmy Charlie's family were accused of her death and how they were treated by police. It was done after publicly speaking about how it was processed.

The RCMP said it had reviewed the case after a public complaint was filed in 2019 and provided information to the family and to Jimmy Charlie.

Police say the investigation remains open and they are appealing to the public for information.

In addition to the RCMP's apology, Maje Raider said her family wants a coroner's report and an apology from the federal government.

Under Indian law of the time, it was illegal for indigenous peoples to purchase or consume alcohol, and they were not permitted to have legal representation.

According to Jimmy Charley's family, Jimmy Charley was taken to Whitehorse prison on charges of drinking or drunkenness.

When she was released, they said her family expected her to take the bus home to her home, but she never arrived.

This article was funded by the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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