The provincial opposition critic for Truth and Reconciliation is speaking out in support of Colby Tootoosis.

Betty Nippi-Albright said speaking as a mother and a grandmother she was appalled at the assault on the 40 year old man from Poundmaker Cree Nation, who was attacked in the backyard of a home in the Town of Battleford while returning a trailer. The man who attacked Tootoosis claimed to be looking for stolen property when he and two others came into the yard.

Nippi-Albright added it is especially upsetting that Tootoosis’s six year old daughter was present when the attack happened.

“No child should ever have to be exposed to such violence, especially watching their parent be assaulted like that, that is horrifying,” she said.

The MLA for Saskatoon Centre explained what happened to Tootoosis is not an isolated incident especially when looking at recent history in the Battleford area.

“This sadly, this is common practice in that community, you know, you just have to look back at what happened to Colton Boushie,” she said.

Nippi-Albright believes the reason why charges have been brought against one of the men involved is because the assault was caught on video, she added without video the response from authorities would have been much different.

“If there was no video surveillance, guess what, they wouldn’t believe that man,” she said.

Currently Nippi-Albright does not believe there is sufficient leadership at the political level to deal with the problem of systemic racism in the province. She explained combating the problem begins with acknowledging it and also treating Indigenous people with respect.

“Start believing Indigenous people, start believing them when these things are happening,” she said.

Going forward Nippi-Albright said people who are concerned about the issues of systemic racism should speak up and also bring the issue up to their elected representatives. She added Indigenous voices need to truly be heard in public institutions for their to be real change.

“We need our systems to start opening up and creating space for us Indigenous people to be in there so we can help change that,” she said.

(Photo Courtesy of Eleanor Sunchild Facebook: One of the suspects on surveillance in front of the home where the attack happened.)