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Quewezance sisters should be exonerated and compensated, says FSIN

The Quewezance sisters' case sheds light on the over- incarceration of First Nations in Canada: FSIN.
Quewezance sisters, Nerissa, left, and Odelia, say they were wrongfully convicted of murder.

SASKATOON - The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations say Odelia and Nerissa Quewezance deserve to be exonerated and compensated, not granted bail.

Vice Chief Aly Bear testified at Court of King’s Bench in Yorkton in support of two First Nations sisters convicted of second-degree murder in 1994.

Bear called their case “heartbreaking,” especially to see the children of Odelia Quewezance in court and learn of their childhood without their mother.

“It’s just another example of how First Nations women’s voices are being silenced by a racist, patriarchal justice system. They have served 30 years of hard time for a crime they did not commit.”

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said First Nation women in Saskatchewan make up 85 per cent of the population in federal custody.

“This case sheds light on the over- incarceration of First Nations in Canada,” said Cameron. “We know within the walls of prisons across Canada there are many more wrongful convictions. Many of our people are rotting away without proper legal representation.”

The sisters are from Keeseekoose First Nation and suffered childhood sexual abuse, including sex trafficking, and are both residential school survivors, said FSIN.

The bail hearing for Odelia and Nerissa Quewezance is being held Jan. 17 – 18 in Yorkton Court of King’s Bench.

The sisters have maintained their innocence since they were convicted in 1994 of second-degree murder in the 1993 death of Kamsack-area farmer Anthony Joseph Dolff. The sisters' cousin – who was a youth at the time - has repeatedly admitted that he is the one who killed Dolff and not the sisters. He was sentenced to only four years in prison and the sisters were sentenced to life in prison.

Nerissa and Odelia have the support of high-profile advocates such as Senator Kim Pate, Innocence Canada, Kim Beaudin from Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the late David Milgaard and retired judges Justices Harry LaForme and Juanita Westmoreland-Traore – who were appointed by federal justice minister David Lametti in 2021 to head the creation of an independent Criminal Case Review Commission to review wrongful convictions.

The 1994 convictions of Odelia and Nerissa Quewezance from Keeseekoose First Nation for the 1993 murder of 70-year-old Joseph Dolff of Kamsack are currently under review by the federal justice department as a possible miscarriage of justice.

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