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FSIN continuing to stand by Dawn Walker

Kathy Walker, sister of Dawn, appeared at FSIN news conference Friday.
FSIN news conference Aug. 26
Kathy Walker (in front of microphone next to FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear) speaks at the FSIN news conference Friday in support of Dawn Walker.

SASKATOON - Officials with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations held a news conference Friday in which they continued to voice support for Dawn Walker in her legal struggles.

Kathy Walker, Dawn’s sister, was at the FSIN news conference Friday where she thanked all those who had assisted their family and Dawn through the ordeal.

“There’s so many people who have gone out of their way to help Dawn and to make this day possible,” Kathy said. 

“If it wasn’t for the countless organizations, leaders and people who have helped them, Dawn would be just another Indigenous woman failed by the justice system and sitting in a U.S. jail. While I am extremely grateful for today, my heart goes out to the other families who have sisters and aunts and mothers and daughters who should be getting the help they deserve as well, rather than being punished for trying their best to survive the violence and trauma that is really targeted towards our Indigenous women and girls and two-spirited people.”

Dawn Walker, a member of the Okanese Cree Nation, was returned to Canada this week from Oregon where she had been held on charges of aggravated identity theft and a misdemeanour identity theft. She also faces charges in Canada of parental abduction in contravention of a custody order and public mischief. 

Walker and her son were found in Oregon after she went missing in late July, prompting an extensive missing persons search. According to the FSIN, she is in Canada awaiting to be transferred to a facility in Saskatoon.

Officials at the news conference voiced support for Walker and called for justice and systemic changes. During the news conference they continued to allege Dawn was a victim of domestic violence and that she was failed by the system. There was heavy criticism levelled at the Saskatoon Police and the justice system over the handling of her case, and

“How many women have we seen die from domestic violence because the systems were built by men,” said Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson. “Colonial systems were built on colonization… it wasn’t built for women, and if we look at history, none of these systems were built by women.”

“The FSIN is here today to stand in solidarity with not only Dawn but to any other vulnerable woman out there that is experiencing what Dawn has gone through and what she is going through,”  said FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear. “We call for reform for our broken Colonial legal system that fails to keep our Indigenous women and children safe as well as our victims and survivors of domestic violence.”

She noted Dawn’s “multiple reported incidents of abuse” were filed with the Saskatoon Police and RCMP, and that both agencies “failed to see the patterns and escalation of abuse.”

Bear called for a “thorough investigation into the Saskatoon City Police and the RCMP, the handling of her reports to examine the pattern of abuse, and to expose what level of abuse is required to result in charges of abuse.”

She also called for the release of Walker on her own recognizance. “Dawn is not going anywhere. She will be home with her family and close to her son.”

Walker has retained Marie Henein, a well known Toronto criminal lawyer, to handle her criminal charges. Vice Chief Bear confirmed the FSIN is not handling her legal fees, however there is a GoFundMe fundraising effort for her legal defence.

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