Part: TWO & THREE
Addressing Canada's Tragic Reality: Missing, Murdered, and Exploited Men and Boys
By Jasmine Castillo, Host of Hands Off My Podcast
Empower the Vulnerable and Make Them Heard. No Longer Voiceless. No Longer Forgotten.
Missing, Murdered, and Exploited Indigenous Men and Boys in Canada is an ever-growing problem in our society. Indigenous people are those in North America who are descended from the original inhabitants of the area. Tragically the number of missing and murdered Indigenous men and boys in Canada has been increasing, as well as extreme cases of exploitation.
Indigenous men and boys in Canada are facing a crisis. They are six to seven times more likely to be murdered than any other group of individuals in the country, and that number has been steadily increasing since 2014. The situation is so severe that Indigenous men and boys accounted for 32% of all missing persons alerts across the country in just one year, with many still missing or later found deceased. Furthermore, police-involved shooting deaths disproportionately affect Indigenous men, representing 38% of the last 100 cases while only making up 5% of the population.
As we take pride in celebrating diversity this month, it is crucial that we also acknowledge these stark realities faced by First Nations men in Canada. We must grieve for their losses while also recognizing and celebrating their precious lives. Let us not forget our 2S relatives who experience violence at even higher rates due to colonial erasure from our communities. The Metro Vancouver Indigenous Services Society and Shane Point from Musqueam First Nation echo this sentiment - shedding light on this issue is essential in bringing change and honoring those who have been lost.
Efforts have been put in place to curtail the rate that Indigenous people are exploited, however, that has yet to bear fruit with more than one thousand Indigenous people either missing or murdered in the past couple of decades. It is an issue that requires more attention from government, yet it remains largely invisible. All actions need to be taken in order to better protect Indigenous rights, help the victims, and improve the public’s understanding of this crisis. This means more resources need to be placed to support Indigenous victims of crime, access to culturally safe programming, and increased public education and knowledge about this phenomenon.
Indigenous in Canada:
According to the RCMP, there were 2,049 missing and murdered Indigenous men and boys in Canada between 1980 and 2019. Of these, 1,181 were homicide victims. Indigenous men are seven times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous men, and Indigenous boys are five times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous boys.
The majority of missing and murdered Indigenous men and boys are from remote and rural areas. They are also more likely to be young, have a history of substance abuse, and have been involved in the criminal justice system.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the high rates of violence against Indigenous men and boys, including:
* Residential schools: The legacy of residential schools has had a profound impact on Indigenous communities, and has contributed to the intergenerational trauma that is often seen in families and communities.
* Poverty: Indigenous people are more likely to live in poverty than non-Indigenous people, and poverty is a major risk factor for violence.
* Racism: Indigenous people face racism in all aspects of their lives, and this can contribute to feelings of isolation and despair, which can increase the risk of violence.
* Substance abuse: Substance abuse is a major problem in many Indigenous communities, and it can lead to violence, both as a victim and as a perpetrator.
* The criminal justice system: Indigenous people are more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous people, and they are more likely to be victims of violence while in custody.
There are a number of things that can be done to address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous men and boys, including:
* Investing in Indigenous communities: This includes providing funding for education, housing, and other social programs.
* Addressing the legacy of residential schools: This includes providing support for survivors and their families, and working to heal the intergenerational trauma that has been caused.
* Combating racism: This includes working to change attitudes and behaviors, and to create a more inclusive society.
* Addressing substance abuse: This includes providing treatment and support services, and working to reduce the availability of drugs and alcohol.
* Reforming the criminal justice system: This includes working to reduce the over-incarceration of Indigenous people, and to ensure that they are treated fairly within the system.
The issue of missing and murdered Indigenous men and boys is a complex one, but it is one that must be addressed. By working together, we can make a difference in the lives of Indigenous people and their families.
In January 2016, Jennifer Mt. Pleasant released her Master's research at Wilfrid Laurier University, which focused on "Violence Against Indigenous Males in Canada with a Focus on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men". She also put together a database of victims, which had over 700 names at the time. A university profile quotes her as stating, "There is nothing really out there that advocates for Indigenous men. This leads people to believe that Indigenous men aren’t worthy of inquiry." The profile explains how her research was met with a mixture of emotions within the indigenous community and that she's been denied funding opportunities. Violence Against Indigenous Males in Canada with a Focus on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men (wlu.ca)
Robert Innes, a professor from the University of Saskatchewan, spoke to the National Post in 2015 about the difficulty of raising the issue of violence against indigenous men. He was quoted as saying, "It is a difficult issue to raise because you don’t want to say one is more important than the other and it can come across like that. When you raise it, you want to make it clear it’s an issue facing men and women." In an Aboriginal Policy Studies journal article cited by the Post, he wrote about the fact that indigenous men also commit and are charged with murder at disproportionate rates, saying, "Placing the emphasis on the violence of which Indigenous men are capable while at the same time ignoring their victimization is caused by a specific kind of race and gender bias many white people have towards Indigenous men." A video of his recent talk in Toronto, "The Moose In The Room: Time To Talk About Indigenous Male Violence," is available on Facebook. (PDF) The Moose in the Room: Indigenous Men and Violence Against Women | Kimberley Anderson and Robert Innes - Academia.edu
A coalition, Expand the Inquiry, spearheaded by Musqueam chief Ernie Crey, supported the inclusion of men and boys as part of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. However, the coalition received more opposition than support, mainly due to the participation of non-Indigenous Men's Rights Activists from CAFE (Canadian Association for Equality). Expanding the Conversation - MMIMB: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men and Boys - EquitableEducation.ca
Neil Stonechild, 17 – killed November 25, 1990:
Neil Stonechild was an intelligent and passionate young man. He was determined to make a better life for himself and, at 17, he was on his way to doing just that.
Stonechild was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on August 24, 1973. He was a student at Walter Murray Collegiate Institute and was an accomplished wrestler, having won a bantamweight provincial title in Saskatchewan.
The Cree Nation is a group of First Nations peoples who live in what is now Canada. They are the largest Indigenous group in Canada, with over 350,000 members. The Cree traditionally lived in the Subarctic and Plains regions of Canada, and their language is one of the most widely spoken in the country.
The Cree have a rich culture and history, and they have played an important role in the development of Canada. They are known for their skills as hunters, trappers, and traders, and they have a deep connection to the land. The Cree also have a strong oral tradition, and their stories and songs have been passed down for generations.
The life and dreams of Neil Stonechild, a 17-year-old, opened a window into a vibrant person who was battling his personal demons in order to live a full and normal life. He was a popular, charismatic, and good-looking teenager, and his friend Jason Roy was with him on the night he vanished. Roy remembers Stonechild as someone who "loved life" and was a "giving person who enjoyed being a young kid".
Though Stonechild and Roy both had a history of criminal behaviour, people around Stonechild saw more than just a life of crime and alcoholism. Stonechild was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and had not missed any meetings, though he had been drinking on the night he disappeared.
November 25, 1990, Neil Stonechild was seen walking home from a party with a friend. He was stopped by two Saskatoon police officers, who claimed that he was intoxicated and disorderly. The officers took Stonechild into custody and drove him to the outskirts of the city. They then released him, without any shoes or a jacket, in a field where the temperature was below −28 °C (−18 °F).
Stonechild's body was found the following morning. He had died of hypothermia.
The Saskatoon Police Service initially ruled Stonechild's death an accident. However, an independent inquiry later concluded that Stonechild had been the victim of a starlight tour. The inquiry also found that the Saskatoon Police Service had a systemic problem with racism and discrimination against Indigenous people.
For decades, Indigenous people in Saskatchewan's golden, wheat-covered prairies have been victims of a dangerous phenomenon known as "starlight tours".
This Was The First Documented Starlight Tour Case
The term “Starlight Tours” refers to a practice by Canada's Saskatoon Police that has resulted in at least five First Nations men freezing to death, including a 17-year-old boy. This practice, which was rarely documented, involved police officers driving intoxicated Indigenous people out of town and leaving them to walk home and sober up. The lack of police reports from either side made this practice mostly the stuff of urban legend.
The first documented case of a Starlight Tour occurred in 1976 and was described in the 2005 book, “Starlight Tour: The Last Lonely Night of Neil Stonechild.” According to the book, two Aboriginal men and a woman who was eight months pregnant were picked up by a Saskatoon police officer and dropped off outside of the city. The woman, who was the first to report a Starlight Tour, later described the experience to the police chief. She said that after the officer pulled them each out of the car and drove away, they realized how far they were from town.
In October 1976, the Saskatoon Police Chief posted a memo for all of his staff to see. The memo stated that the officer had been accused of forcing the three people into a police vehicle and driving them to a remote area outside of the city, after which he left them to walk back to the city. The officer denied the accusations, but was found guilty and was reprimanded and fined $200.
The Starlight Tour practice underscores a long history of racism against Canada's Indigenous people. It is a reminder that in order to protect the safety of all people, it is important to acknowledge and address the systemic racism in our society and work together to ensure that it is eradicated.
The death of Neil Stonechild is a reminder of the ongoing problem of racism and discrimination against Indigenous people in Canada. It is also a reminder of the importance of holding police accountable for their actions.
The deaths of Neil Stonechild and other Indigenous people at the hands of Saskatoon police led to a number of protests and demonstrations. In 1999, the Saskatchewan government passed the Starblanket Declaration, which called for an end to the practice of starlight tours.
It is difficult to say for certain whether or not starlight tours still happen. There have been no confirmed cases of starlight tours since the early 2000s, but there have been a number of reports of Indigenous people being dropped off outside of city limits in cold weather. In some cases, these people have been found alive, but in others, they have been found dead.
It is possible that starlight tours are still happening, but that they are being done more discreetly. It is also possible that the reports of Indigenous people being dropped off outside of city limits are not actually starlight tours, but are simply cases of police officers dropping off intoxicated people in a safe place.
The only way to know for sure whether or not starlight tours are still happening is to have a more thorough investigation into the matter. This would involve interviewing Indigenous people who have been dropped off outside of city limits, as well as investigating the conduct of police officers.
Until a more thorough investigation is conducted, it is impossible to say for certain whether or not starlight tours still happen. However, the fact that there have been a number of reports of Indigenous people being dropped off outside of city limits in cold weather is a cause for concern.
There were accusations that the police service had taken him to the northwest section of the city and abandoned him in a field on a night when temperatures were below −28 °C (−18 °F). An autopsy showed that he had died of hypothermia, but his family suspected foul play. The police investigation into Neil's death ended after just three days, with no evidence of any wrongdoing being found.
On the night of Neil Stonechild's death, his friend Jason Roy was with him. Five days later, when Roy was interviewed by the police, he provided a signed statement that he and Stonechild had consumed most of a 1.4 litre bottle of vodka together, and that they had parted ways at around 11:30 pm. Roy claimed to have "blacked out" and had no recollection of what happened afterwards. However, in 2000, Roy told a different story; that the last time he had seen Stonechild, the latter was in the back of a police cruiser, bleeding from a cut on his face, and pleading for help. Because of the information he provided, Roy's family were placed in a RCMP witness protection program. Furthermore, when Roy was questioned, he gave the officers a false name - Tracy Lee Horse. Shortly after that, the officers talked to Neil Stonechild's cousin, Bruce Genaille, and questioned him. Genaille stated that there was nobody in the back of the cruiser. As a result, Senger and Hartwig ran queries on the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) computer system for the names "Tracy Horse" and "Tracy Lee Horse" and "Neil Stonechild". The latter query was followed by a CPIC query for "Bruce Genaille". Five days later, Stonechild's body was discovered with one shoe missing. The police initially concluded that there had been no foul play, but a decade later, Roy's statement caused the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate Stonechild's death and the deaths of other First Nations individuals thought to have been in police custody.
Neil was living between the foster care system and his mother's house. He was close to his older brother, Dean Lindgren, who had been taken away from their family as part of the "60s scoop" and later adopted by a white family in Minnesota. The week before Neil's death, the two brothers had planned to travel to Ontario and drive back a car Dean had bought. However Dean had to go alone and, on his way back to Saskatoon, he got into an accident and destroyed his car. When he borrowed a stranger's phone to call home, he was told that his brother had been killed.
In 2000, people protested what they called the Saskatoon Police force's racism, and Stonechild's painting still hangs on the walls of the Kilburn Hall detention centre.
The Sixties Scoop was a period in Canadian history from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, during which an estimated 20,000 Indigenous children were removed from their families and communities and placed in foster homes or adopted by non-Indigenous families. The practice was driven by the belief that Indigenous children would have better opportunities in life if they were raised in white, middle-class homes.
The Sixties Scoop was a direct result of the residential school system, which had been in place in Canada since the late 1800s. Residential schools were boarding schools for Indigenous children, where they were forced to assimilate into Canadian culture and abandon their own languages, traditions, and beliefs. The schools were often abusive and neglectful, and many children suffered physical and emotional trauma as a result.
The Sixties Scoop was also a product of the prevailing attitudes of the time, which held that Indigenous people were inferior to white people and that their children would be better off being raised by white families. These attitudes were based on racism and colonialism, and they had a devastating impact on Indigenous families and communities.
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the Sixties Scoop and its impact on Indigenous people. In 2017, the Canadian government apologized for the Scoop, and it has since provided financial compensation to survivors. The government has also committed to providing more support for Indigenous children and families, and it is working to address the underlying causes of the Scoop, such as racism and colonialism.
In 2003, the Saskatchewan provincial government held a Commission of Inquiry (the Wright Inquiry) into the death of Neil Stonechild. The report found that the officers had not recorded their interaction with Stonechild in their log books shortly before his death on the outskirts of the city. It also concluded that marks on Stonechild's wrists and nose could have been caused by handcuffs. The inquiry noted that relations between the police and First Nations were problematic, but that the investigation into Stonechild's death at the time had been inadequate to determine the circumstances of his death. The inquiry concluded on May 19, 2004 and as a result of its findings, police officers Larry Hartwig and Brad Senger were fired. This decision was later appealed but the firings were ultimately upheld.
Today, Dean still remembers his brother with love, and holds hatred for the two officers he believes took his life. Meanwhile, Jason Roy, the last person to see Neil alive, is struggling to overcome the trauma of that night. He calls for cultural and sensitivity training of the police to better equip them to deal with high-stress situations involving Indigenous people. He wants justice, and will not let the police win.
Police in Prince George, BC are continuing to investigate the disappearance of Barry Blain Seymour, a 32-year-old man from Fort Ware who was last seen in Prince George eleven years ago.
Barry traveled with his family to Prince George to attend his son's birthday celebration.
Kwadacha Nation in British Columbia
Kwadacha Nation, also known as Fort Ware, is a First Nations community in northern British Columbia, Canada. It is located approximately 570 kilometers north of Prince George in the Rocky Mountain Trench at the confluence of the Fox, Kwadacha, and Finlay rivers. The population is about 270 people.
The Kwadacha First Nation is a member of the Kaska Dena Council, which is a tribal council of five Kaska First Nations in British Columbia and Yukon. The Kwadacha First Nation's traditional territory includes the Finlay River basin and the Rocky Mountain Trench.
Barry was visiting Prince George with family members to celebrate his son’s birthday. He was last seen on the evening of May 23rd near the Sunrise Trailer Park on Lansdowne Road, where he had been staying in a local motel. In an effort to locate Seymour, the police conducted an aerial search of the Fraser River between Prince George and Quesnel, conducted a shoreline search via boat, carried out a Police Dog search of the area surrounding Landsdowne, and conducted an extensive ground search with the help of the Prince George Search & Rescue Society. Despite following up on many leads and interviewing people, there is no evidence to suggest that Seymour was the victim of foul play.
Seymour is described as an Indigenous man, standing at 170cm tall and weighing approximately 79kg, with black hair and brown eyes. Despite extensive searches conducted by police and community members, unfortunately, no new information regarding his disappearance has yet been uncovered.
The Prince George RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating Seymour. Anyone who may have seen him or knows of his whereabouts is urged to contact the Prince George RCMP at (250)561-3300 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1(800)222-8477 or online at www.pgcrimestoppers.bc.ca (English only).
Rodney Levi, 48 – killed June 12, 2020:
48-year-old Rodney Levi, a Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq man, was killed in the same province.
Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation, also known as Red Bank, is a Mi'kmaq First Nation band government in New Brunswick, Canada on the other side of the Miramichi River from Sunny Corner. It is located at the head of tide of the Miramichi River. For thousands of years Mi'kmaq communities along New Brunswick's northeastern shore lived near tidal estuaries where tidal saltwater flows inland and creates an ecosystem for “anadromous fish species such as salmon, sturgeon, gaspereau or alewife, striped bass, and eel, that seasonally move up the estuaries in large numbers.” Some of these species spawned above the 'head of tide' and up the freshwater streams.
Although officially recognised in 1783, Metepenagiag has been home to a Mi'kmaq community for over 3000 years, making it the oldest continuously settled community in New Brunswick. The community has a population of approximately 550 people.
On June 12, 2020 in the late afternoon, the Sunny Corner RCMP Detachment received a call regarding a man allegedly acting strangely near the Metepenagiag First Nation. According to the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes du Québec, when police arrived at the scene, Rodney was equipped with knives and rushed at one of the two officers. A taser was utilized three times, however it was unsuccessful at subduing him. One of the officers then shot Rodney twice in the chest, resulting in his death once he had been taken to the hospital.
Witnesses were interviewed by the Bureau, one of whom mentioned that Rodney had been "severely depressed" in the days before his death and spoke of "suicide by RCMP". Norman Ward, Rodney's brother-in-law, told Al Jazeera that he suffered from drug addiction and did not think he was a risk to anyone. Norman described Rodney as having a unique way with people, particularly children, and added that his passing has created a void among those who knew him.
According to Lisa Levi, Rodney's sister, he had been invited by Pastor Brodie MacLeod of the Boom Road Pentecostal Church to have dinner with the family. The pastor later released a statement to dismiss the rumors that Rodney had been an "unwanted guest". Lisa also said that Rodney had been trying to get psychiatric help for several months prior, but was denied admission at the local hospital.
The police talked with Rodney for 20 minutes before shooting him, according to Lisa. She questioned whether Rodney had been scared and if he had suffered. This incident has left Lisa and her three children, aged 7, 13 and 14, feeling anxious and scared when driving outside of their community. Norman believes Rodney would be alive today if he was white, expressing his belief that the justice system is against Indigenous people. The RCMP is not commenting on Rodney's death at this time as the case is being reviewed by the New Brunswick Prosecution Service.
Insert mp3 of 2021 court verdict
Denny-Ray Poole, 15 - missing March 12, 2016:
The Poole family was filled with joy and anticipation as April 5, 2001 brought the newest addition to their family. Denny-Ray Poole, named after Ray Napoleon, whose significant role in Denny's life would bring them close together. Denny is Tsay Keh Dene First Nation.
Tsay Keh Dene First Nation
The Tsay Keh Dene First Nation is a Sekani First Nations band government in the Northern Interior of British Columbia, Canada. Their main community is located at Fort Ware, approximately 375 kilometres (233 mi) north of Prince George. The name Tsay Keh Dene means "People of the Mountain" in the Sekani language.
The Tsay Keh Dene First Nation has a registered population of 516 people, of whom 268 live off-reserve, 233 live on other land, and 15 live on reserve. The band's chief is Johnny Pierre.
With the help of their grandmother, Jenny, Denny and his sisters found love and care in her presence, whether it be through attending school, running errands, or story-telling in class. As Denny grew, so did his love for family and friends, often talking for hours at bedtime, and exploring many hobbies such as skateboarding, biking, swimming, and hockey. Along with Allen, a father figure in his life, Denny had a strong support system that he cherished deeply.
Camp Sagitawa, a Christian camp located near Moberly Lake, BC, was a favorite of Denny-Ray Poole's. He enjoyed riding the horses and it was at the camp he made the decision to become baptised.
Denny-Ray had been struggling a bit in middle school, according to his grandmother Jenny, but he promised her he would stay out of trouble and work harder in school to ensure he graduated.
On the night of March 11, 2016, Denny-Ray told his grandmother he was spending the night at his best friend's house. She allowed him to do this, provided his chores were done. However, the two boys had other plans. They decided to embark on a 76.4km journey to meet a girl they had been chatting with online. Unfortunately, the only witness who saw Denny-Ray after this point was his friend, and the identity of the girl remains a mystery.
It was a cold night, with temperatures reaching -6. Denny-Ray was wearing only a sweatshirt, jeans, Osiris skate shoes, and a black DC hat. The two teens wandered the highway and backroads for 20 hours, but they kept getting turned around and didn't make much headway.
The following morning, Denny-Ray called his grandmother to tell her he was walking down the hill and would be home soon. His grandmother asked him to call before coming home, but unfortunately this was the last time she ever heard from him.
It is believed that Poole was last seen walking across the Kiskatinaw River Bridge on the Alaska Highway at approximately 7:10 p.m. on March 12th, 2016.
These boys were seen running along the highway and a phone call was made to the RCMP. When officers arrived, the youth was gone and there were no tracks or clues to be found. As the weeks passed, police searched the area for signs of Denny but found nothing.
Family and community members organized search parties but were also unsuccessful in locating the young boy. It is unclear what happened to Denny, but some theories suggest that the cold temperatures, lack of winter gear, and a snowstorm may have caused him to wander off in search of shelter. Another possibility is that Denny may have been taken by someone.
This disappearance has left the community shaken and many unanswered questions. As the search for Denny continues, we can only hope he will come home one day.
Alisha Poole, Denny's older sister, and Sharla Bruun, a social worker with Aboriginal Family Services, have been working to find Denny since his disappearance. Although they have done everything they can to investigate every lead and search for any signs of Denny, they have come up empty-handed. They believe Denny was picked up by someone while walking along the dark, remote highway and never seen again. For the Poole family, this is yet another tragedy to add to a long list of losses.
The Poole family, originally from the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation, has had its share of tragedies, including two daughters lost in Vancouver and two sons who drowned in McLeod Lake. Including still unsolved case of their daughter, Wendy Freida Poole. On January 26th, 1989, Wendy Poole, who was 20 years old and pregnant with her second child, was tragically strangled to death on the second floor of a housing co-op in Vancouver. In 1991, a man was acquitted of second-degree murder charges in the case. This man has since passed away. The Vancouver Police have stopped actively pursuing Wendy's case and it has been a considerable amount of time since her family has had contact with officers. Wendy Freida Poole Murder
Denny's disappearance is reminiscent of the Highway of Tears, where many women have gone missing. Sharla and Alisha don't believe this is a case of a community responding indifferently to a missing First Nations boy, as there were more non-Aboriginal people who came out to help search. They believe someone, somewhere, has information that could help them find Denny.
Highway of Tears
The Highway of Tears is a 725-kilometre (450 mi) corridor of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert in British Columbia, Canada, which has been the location of crimes against many Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) beginning in 1970. The phrase was coined during a vigil held in Terrace, British Columbia in 1998, by Florence Naziel, who was thinking of the victims' families crying over their loved ones. There are a disproportionately high number of Indigenous women on the list of victims.
The victims were mostly indigenous women, hence the term missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW). Accounts vary as to the exact number of victims. According to the RCMP Project E-Pana, the number of victims is fewer than 18, while Aboriginal organizations estimate that the number of missing and murdered women is higher than 40. The table below lists all the known women who went missing, were murdered, or died of unknown causes in the Highway of Tears. E-Pana cases are categorized in the table.
The Highway of Tears has become a symbol of the larger issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The issue has been the subject of much public outcry and debate, and has led to calls for increased government action to address the issue.
In 2015, the federal government launched a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The inquiry, which was called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, released its final report in 2019. The report made a number of recommendations, including calls for increased funding for Indigenous policing, better coordination between different levels of government, and more support for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The Highway of Tears remains a tragedy and a source of pain for many Indigenous people in Canada. The issue has not been solved, and the families of the victims are still waiting for answers. However, the public outcry and the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have brought the issue to the forefront of public consciousness, and have led to calls for action from the government.
The Dawson Creek RCMP has been actively searching for Poole since his disappearance, utilizing Police Dog Services, Air Support Services, Search and Rescue, and local community assistance. He is described as 15 years old, between 5 feet, 6 inches to 6 feet tall, 130 pounds, with short but long black hair in the front. He was last seen wearing a size 10 men’s Osiris hightop shoes (purple, green, blue and black), blue jeans, a grey “DC” hood, and a black flat-brimmed hat.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Dawson Creek RCMP at 250-784-3700 or remain anonymous and contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Colten Therrin Fleury, 16 - missing May 3, 2018:
Colten Therrin Fleury was 16 years old when he was last seen by his mother at a motel in downtown Prince George, British Columbia around 7:00a.m. on May 3rd, 2018. At the time of his disappearance, He lived in and out of care with the Ministry of Children and Family Development for years, before eventually discovering crystal meth. After a problem involving fighting at one of his group homes, he was placed back in his mother’s care.
On May 2nd, 2018, Colten stayed with his mother in the motel where she worked. After going to bed early, he woke up at 7a.m. the next morning and has not been seen or heard from since. Phyllis has made seven trips to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to search for her son, showing pictures of Colten and asking if anyone has seen him. She has also chased down reported sightings, but the RCMP believe they were of people who resembled Colten.
The family of Robert Pickton's last victim, Mona Wilson, is searching once again in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES). Her brother, Jason Fleury, has set out from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta in search of his 16-year-old nephew, Colten Therrin Fleury, who was reported missing on May 4. Jason reported that Colten left home on May 3 and has since been sighted in Prince George, New Hazelton, Prince Rupert, and Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and recently Surrey, B.C his whereabouts remain a mystery.
The RCMP have asserted that there is no evidence of foul play in Colten’s disappearance, but Jason has speculated that his nephew may have gone to the DTES in search of cannabis, being a user of methamphetamine. Jason has described Colten as being a “follower, not a leader” and has urged him to call his mother. He has also reported that Colten has been seen in the area around the Aboriginal Front Door centre on Main Street and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. Jason has expressed his sadness at the thought of his nephew being just another statistic in the area’s crisis of drug abuse.
Since his disappearance, Phyllis has received several tips that Colten has been spotted in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park with a blonde woman. Despite the rumors that Colten is dead, Phyllis remains hopeful that he is still alive. She has even offered to send him money for food, if he is hiding due to drug debts or for any other reason.
Prince George RCMP Cpl. Craig Douglass has stated that there are very few clues that point in any one direction, and that if Colten decided to leave town on his own or if harm has come to him, someone must know something. The RCMP have put significant resources into their search for Colten.
Phyllis has put up posters and has a Facebook page, “Help Find Colten Therrin Fleury,” to receive tips. While she's heard from people who say Colten is doing well, she's also heard he's on heroin and is worried he's in trouble. She's even been the victim of a prank call where someone claimed they had Colten and he was found hanging from a tree in a schoolyard.
Phyllis was devastated by the call, and quickly contacted the Prince George RCMP to report what she had heard. It soon became clear that the call was a hoax, and had not come from the Vancouver police, as the caller had claimed. Phyllis said the experience left her "ready to puke" with the meanness of the prank.
The Prince George RCMP have passed Colten's file to the Serious Crimes Unit, but Phyllis feels they are not doing enough to help her find her son. She's chasing every lead and every rumour on her own and has asked anyone with information on Colten's whereabouts to call Prince George RCMP or Crime Stoppers.
For updates from Phyllis herself, or to share your support, you can follow her page on Facebook. Despite five years of searching, Phyllis has not given up hope of finding Colten. Colten is described as First Nations, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown hair and eyes, and 120lbs. Last seen wearing a red hoodie and jeans., has had a difficult life. Anyone with information on Colten's whereabouts is asked to call Prince George RCMP at 250-561-3300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), referencing Case #2018-13528.
In a Facebook video
- The video was a discussion by Phyllis, about her missing son, Colton, and the struggles she has faced in trying to find him. She also addresses the disparities in media coverage and police attention between her son's case and that of non-Native missing persons.
Takeaway 1: The struggle and pain of having a missing child, especially for Indigenous families
Gina shares her heart-wrenching experience of having her son, Colton, go missing for over five years. She discusses her challenges in trying to find him and the lack of support from authorities, which she believes is due to her Indigenous background. She also addresses the hurtful comments made by others, such as suggesting that Colton doesn't want to be found by his "alcoholic mother."
"I was going to cry so early in this video, but I'm here to tell his story and talk about the comments that were made," she said. "It's really frustrating. It's really hurtful to be pushed aside. And you really don't know until it's your own child, until it's your own baby that's missing." Gina also highlighted the difficulties Indigenous families face when searching for their missing loved ones: "It really hurts that we're not priority. And that word again. Hey, no priority. And that hurts. That really hurts."
Takeaway 2: The importance of raising awareness and support for missing Indigenous men
The video brings attention to the lack of recognition and support for missing Indigenous men, with Gina stressing the need for more resources and awareness to help find them. She shares her own efforts in searching for her son, including distributing posters and labels with his picture, and reaching out to others for help and information.
"I don't have money to put up a billboard, but that's what I've seen along the highway. Fine. Maddie. Miss Maddie. And that's the other thing. We're from the Res. We don't have money," she said. "So this is my update for Cameron, who is doing a walk, I believe, and he's to get Colton's story out. He wanted it, and I told him I was going to make it when I was ready."
Takeaway 3: The significance of community support and healing during the search for missing loved ones
Throughout her emotional story, Gina emphasizes the importance of community support and healing during her ongoing search for her son. She mentions the various people and organizations that have helped her along the way, and how she tries to give back by helping others in similar situations.
"Since missing my son, I got a job at central interior native health. And the way I see it, if Colton's out there, somebody is helping him, somebody is feeding him, so I'm giving back, and I go out and feed them, especially on the weekends I'm out there, and I work six days a week putting my heart into it, because they know something. Eventually they will talk to me."
Unidentified Men & Boys in Canada:
Case reference: 2014022855 Canada's Missing | Case details (rcmp-grc.gc.ca)
On February 21, 2013, a human skull was turned into Hinton RCMP by the Groeneveldt family. They located the skull in their garage under items that had been tucked away since the homeowner Leo Groeneveldt passed away many years earlier. The family believes Mr. Groeneveldt received the skull as a gag gift at a party he attended in Hinton in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The exact origin of the skull is unknown. Forensic examination of the skull shows it is that of an aboriginal male.
The skull is of an unidentified male, estimated to be between the ages of 20 and 55. No clothing or jewelry was found with the skull, but it was noted to have visible missing teeth. Dental records were available, and DNA and fingerprinting were also done.
The Hinton RCMP are still searching for answers regarding the origin and circumstances of the skull.
If you have information on this case, please contact any of the following:
Hinton RCMP: 780-865-2455
Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) or online at https://www.canadiancrimestoppers.org/tips Crime Stoppers provides anonymous tipping
Send email to the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains at:
297UMAB - Unidentified Male https://www.doenetwork.org/cases/297umab.html
297UMAB was found on July 18, 1999 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was estimated to be between 25-40 years old, and was either White or Native American. He was approximately 5'8" to 5'10" tall. His exact hair and eye color are unknown. It is possible that he had a deformity on the right side of his nose. The unidentified male was found in a burned-out garage at 108A Avenue and 97 Street in Edmonton.
He was found wearing a blue knit sweater, blue jacket, dark button fly pants, and cotton briefs, but no socks or shoes were found. No jewelry was found with him. A blanket and pillow were found at the scene, indicating that he may have lived at the residence.
The Chief Medical Examiner's Office is investigating this case. They have dental records and DNA available, but no fingerprints. X-rays are also available. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chief Medical Examiner's Office at 780-427-4987 or toll-free within the province of Alberta at 310-0000.
3250UMBC - Unidentified Male 3250UMBC (doenetwork.org)
The body of an unidentified male was found near the Skeena River bank in Terrace, British Columbia, Canada in 1971. The estimated age of the individual is between 13 and 16 years old and is believed to have died between 1-2 years prior to the discovery. The cause of death is unknown. The physical description of the male is unknown, as there is no information on race, sex, height, weight, hair color, or eye color. No dental or fingerprint information is available, and no clothing or jewelry was found with the body.
The Office of the Chief Coroner, Terrace RCMP, the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains, and Crime Stoppers all have open cases related to this individual. Anyone with information regarding this case can contact the Office of the Chief Coroner at 1-877-660-5077, Terrace RCMP at 250-638-7400, the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains at canadasmissing-disparuscanada(at)rcmp-grc.gc.ca, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit an anonymous tip through their website.
3249UMBC - Unidentified Male 3249UMBC (doenetwork.org)
On June 14, 1972, the remains of a 65-75 year old Aboriginal man were discovered in the Caamano Sound on the south side of Rennison Island Beach near Prince Rupert. Along with the remains were found a tan sweatshirt with dark brown and orange stripes and a long-sleeved turquoise sweater.
Despite an investigation by the Office of the Chief Coroner, Prince Rupert RCMP, and the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains, the man's identity remains unknown. The cause of death is also unknown.
If you have any information that could help solve this case, please contact the Office of the Chief Coroner at 1-877-660-5077, Prince Rupert RCMP at 250-627-0700, or the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains at canadasmissing-disparuscanada(at)rcmp-grc.gc.ca. You can also submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
1663UMBC - Unidentified Male https://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1663umbc.html
An unidentified male discovered in Richmond, British Columbia in June 1976. The estimated age of the man was between 40 and 50 years old, with a height of 5'9" and a weight of 187 lbs. He had grey hair and blue eyes, and was missing all of his molars. Two metal screws were present on his spine, indicating that he had undergone spinal fusion surgery.
When he was discovered, he was wearing 36 inch blue jeans, size 9 black leather ankle boots, a black leather belt, green nylon socks, and grey wool work type socks. No jewelry was found with him.
The man's remains were recovered from the south arm of the Fraser River off No. 4 and Garden City Roads. The cause of death is unknown.
The Richmond RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are investigating this case. The case number of the Richmond RCMP is 1976-11544 and the case number of the BC Coroners Service is CFU 76-004. The NCIC Case Number is also available.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the Richmond RCMP at 1-604-278-1212 or the BC Coroners Service at email@example.com.
986UMBC - Unidentified Male 986UMBC (doenetwork.org)
On August 15, 2001, an unidentified male was found floating in the Fraser River near New Westminster, BC. He was estimated to be between 30 and 50 years old, and of Aboriginal/Asian descent. His height was between 5'3" and 5'8" and he weighed 170 lbs. He had a medium build, protruding lower jaw, and a distinctive under bite. He was missing a number of teeth, which would have resulted in a unique smile. He was wearing a Colorado brand beige fleece jacket, beige t-shirt, Tip Top brand grey t-shirt, beige cotton t-shirt Fruit of the Loom brand, Radizion brand 34 inch black pants, brown leather belt with a silver buckle, grey underwear, beige/white socks, and Transit brand burgundy shoes with brown laces. He was also wearing a brown and silver stainless steel Swiss made watch with 4 diamond inserts, serial #8564524. The cause and date of death are unknown.
The case is being investigated by the New Westminster PD (604-525-5411) and the BC Coroners Service (1-877-660-5077) with the case numbers 2001-20094 and 01-0020094 respectively. The NCIC and NamUs case numbers are also available.
2673UMON - Unidentified Male https://doenetwork.org/cases/2673umon.html
On the afternoon of Thursday, July 28th, 2005, a woman walking her dog near Dufferin Avenue and Parkside Drive in the City of Brantford made a heartbreaking discovery. Wrapped in a beige towel made by Cambridge Company and sold at Wal-Mart stores, she found a deceased newborn baby boy.
The infant, later nicknamed “Baby Parker”, had been born alive. DNA analysis established that the infant had both a mother and father, though their identities remain unknown. On August 3rd, 2005, investigators received a letter from someone claiming to be the mother, who explained she was a teen who had hidden her pregnancy. The letter from the mom:
" To whom this may concern:
I am a young girl who had sexual relations with some of the teenage boys in the neighborhood a while back and I ended up pregnant, but I hid it from everyone and I know that one of these guys are the father of the newborn. Baby(?) that was found (?) near(?) the river. I know this because I didn't get my period after having sex with them.. my friend helped me with the birth of the baby. We were out partying in the landsdown(?) park when I started to have contractions. I didn't know what to do, my friend helped me through it: she told me my baby was dead so she placed him or her, I didn't know what it was, I didn't want the doctors to tell me or my friend to tell me. Anyways, she told me she was going to place it in the brushes and she'd come back later. We were walking back to the park to get a ride back home. Then the after birth came, it came out and she took it somewhere and said she was throwing it in the garbage in someones backyard. I don't know what she did with it. Anyways, please don't tell any one of the families if they are the dad. I'm sure DNA is going to start but please do not test them and tell them. I don't want anyone to know. I am going to come into the station and confront you, or the end of next week. I just have to work up the courage. Please, again, do not tell the mom or whatever ( the grandma ) I should say, because then they will know. I'm begging you please. The dad of the baby had nothing to do with this, or their family. Please do not tell that family if the results comes up positive. I will be in by next sun(?). Not this one, the next one. Again, please don't tell the family if any results are positive. Please! I'm scared and lonely, please, I'm so scared that they will find out. I'm so sorry, I don't want them to know or get tested. If you cared, you wouldn't. I will ????? next week, just hold off."
The infant’s grave was laid to rest at Mount Hope Cemetery. Despite an investigation by the Brantford Police Service, the cause of death remains unknown.
3418UMON - Unidentified Male https://doenetwork.org/cases/3418umon.html
This mysterious case dates back to June 21, 1985, when an unidentified male was found in the Niagara River near the Maid of the Mist docks in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. He was believed to be between the ages of 20 and 40 years old. He was estimated to stand at between 5'7" and 5'10" tall and weighed between 170 and 190 lbs. He had curly shoulder length hair, a dark moustache, and an appendix. In addition, he had multiple amalgam fillings and his wisdom teeth were fully erupted. He was wearing an extra wide reddish-brown leather Olympian brand shoe, size 36 blue plaid pants from Grand National Trousers, blue and white size large Mentug brand briefs, and red plaid socks. He was also wearing a gold, 20 inch, 10K gold, fine weave chain necklace. The cause of death and the state of remains are unknown.
This case is being investigated by the OPP Missing Persons and Unidentified Bodies Unit, with a case number of MPUB-20050073, and by the NCMPUR with a case number of 2005007399. The NCIC case number and the NamUs case number are both unknown. If you have any information about this case, please contact the OPP Missing Persons and Unidentified Bodies Unit at 1-877-934-6363 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the NCMPUR at email@example.com. Please note that the information provided above is estimated and may not represent the actual living weight and height of the individual.
Happenings in Edmonton:
A group of dedicated advocates in Edmonton are hoping to bring much-needed attention and support to the missing, murdered, and exploited Indigenous men and boys. They recently launched Blue Jean Jacket Day on June 6 as a counterpart to Red Dress Day, which focuses on raising awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The goal for Blue Jean Jacket Day is to create a nationwide movement that will receive equal attention and funding as Red Dress Day. This is an important shift in focus as the federal government has finally recognized the need to dedicate $95.8 million in support of families of missing and murdered Indigenous people, including men and boys.
Stephanie Harpe is a passionate international advocate for Missing, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous People (MMEIP). She comes from an Indigenous political family in Northern Alberta, from Fort McKay First Nation, and speaks out for those without a voice due to fear of retaliation. Harpe is an acclaimed singer, songwriter, and is using her voice to increase awareness of the need for “action, support for grassroots people, and supportive programming for families” of MMEIP. She calls on the Canadian Justice Criminal Justice System for stronger sentences for those who commit acts of violence towards Indigenous peoples and highlights the need for increased awareness of the dangers of online activities. Harpe is also working with Kari Thomason to facilitate in-person and virtual workshops across Canada and recently launched the “Family Safety and Online Gaming” workshop to provide vital information to Indigenous families. Finally, she is asking readers to visit www.aboriginalalert.ca, which is continually sharing information about missing individuals in Canada.
Stephanie Harpe, one of the organizers behind Blue Jean Jacket Day, knows how vital this inclusion is from personal experience. Men have been consistently left out of discussions around violence against Indigenous communities for too long. When it comes to finding support for programming, they're often overlooked or unfunded.
This event aims to acknowledge these men's challenges while offering hope for progress in seeking justice. Thank you to all those who work tirelessly towards achieving equality across genders within our community!
We applaud those who create spaces where this issue can be openly discussed and where men can feel safe in expressing their grief and sadness. It's important for everyone, regardless of gender, to seek out help if they're struggling with these issues because it takes great courage to do so. At times like these - moments marked by tragedy and violence - it's crucial for men to come forward and communicate their needs and feelings so that healing can begin.
How can you Support:
We cannot turn a blind eye to the harsh reality faced by First Nations men in Vancouver, as well as throughout BC and Canada. It is imperative that we take the time to recognize and celebrate their precious lives while also mourning their loss. Shane Point from the Musqueam First Nation expressed this sentiment with sincerity when he stated, "It is essential we shed light on this dark reality".
The MMIMB2S+ march was initiated through leadership displayed by Indigenous women at an event hosted by MVAEC (Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council) several years back. Curtis Ahenakew, a member of the Ahtahkakoop First Nation and founder of the first MMIBM2S+ march, acknowledges how crucial it is to raise awareness about the issue that persists today, impacting many families and communities.
As we continue moving forward in our efforts to bring justice for all MMIMB2S+ people, let us not forget those who have experienced unimaginable pain and suffering. They deserve our support more than ever before.
Luke Degerness is still missing | Facebook Video of Garret Dan singing for Luke is public available here