It is apparent, from the podcast that there is a poor relationship between stakeholders in the law enforcement sector and the Aboriginal community. The podcast highlights mysterious manner in, which hundreds of Aboriginal women have lost their lives. It also shows the intentional failure of the police to apply proper legal mechanisms, ensuring that justice is served for the affected individuals and their families.
Many potential witnesses of these murders express their fear and unwillingness to share intelligence with the local police. The manner in, which witnesses are harassed and the carelessness associated with the management of these murders, raise a lot of concerns. This discussion highlights the systematic issues and potential systematic discrimination emerging in Cleo Nicotine’ and Alberta Williams murder cases.
In the podcast, one can understand that Alberta Williams and Cleo Nicotine are among hundreds of Aboriginal women, who have been murdered in Canada and the United States, although the causes of their death have not been successfully resolved by the concerned law enforcement agencies or government stakeholders (Walker). This raises the issue of government accountability with regard to the protection, as well as, the resolution of various security challenges experienced by the Aboriginal Community. The government’s failure to account for the over 100 lives of murdered indigenous women could be considered an essential indicator of its inability to not only implement its security frameworks or policies but also monitor whether or the establishment security systems such as police departments are efficient in meeting the security needs of local communities, particularly the Aboriginal communities (Walker).
To enhance the security and the safety of the indigenous communities, the government and other relevant actors have recommended that there is need to establish indigenous representative bodies. However, it is apparent from this podcast that this is a strategic security objective that has not been successfully met by concerned stakeholders. The proposers of the development of indigenous representative bodies have indicated that they would play a major role in the facilitation of the implementation, as well as, the evaluation of different security frameworks within the country. However, this objective has not been achieved as envisioned. In the podcast, one can learn that a substantial number of indigenous women, have been killed. The causes of their death are usually considered mysterious. People do not talk about their deaths in public. Both Cleo Nicotine and Alberta Williams’ cases, however, appear to have opened the discussion as many people came forward and showed a high level of willingness to discuss it, ensuring that there is justice.
In connection with the above assertions, it is possible to emphasize that indigenous representative bodies have failed to protect or advocate for the protection of the lives of the most vulnerable persons among the indigenous communities, women. The other fundamental issue that one recognizes regarding the Alberta Williams and Cleo Nicotine’s murder and their connection with the criminal justice system is the existence of inefficiencies in the manner in, which police investigations are performed. For instance, in the case of Cleo Nicotine, Connie Walker realizes the significant inaccuracies that occurred, while filing the findings of this investigation (Walker). She indicates that it appears that the police was in possession of adequate information that could be used to resolve the case, although, they were unwilling to share the data or intelligence with other relevant parties (Walker).
A similar incident is also realized in the way Alberta William’s murder case was handled. For example, Connie Walker indicates that through her investigations, she was able to trace and identify potential witnesses in Alberta Williams’ murder. However, it is apparent that the witnesses’ observations were not considered by the police during the initial phase of the investigation (Walker). This is an indication of the inefficiencies experienced with regard to the management or the control of various criminal acts. It is not clear, whether or not these inefficiencies are intentionally created to hide evidence when handling criminal offenses against the Aboriginal community.
One could also argue that discrimination is a major challenge that has continued to jeopardize the relationship between the first nation people and stakeholders from the criminal justice system. In the Podcast, Connie Walker interviews certain witnesses or key actors, who acknowledge that indeed during the investigation of the potential causes of Alberta Williams’ murder, they were harassed by police. For example, one of the potential witnesses recollects how he was hypnotized by the police, during the investigation, a factor that instills fear upon him, limiting his ability to provide accurate information associated with the incident. In Cleo Nicotine’s case, concerned stakeholders are worried about the government’s decision to take away their children for adoption by predominantly White families. In the opinion of concerned stakeholders, it appears that the government’s intention through its adoption of Indian children was based on the desire to eradicate native Indians (Walker).
The issue of discrimination against members of the Aboriginal community is also evident in the podcast in the sense that many of the potential witnesses, who were interviewed by the investigative journalist, were fearful and could not mention their names. Some of these witnesses also asserted that they did not desire to experience any trouble; therefore, they could not provide any information associated with the case. It is not clear whether or not these elements of fear are triggered by the mistreatment of the police and other law enforcement officials towards the Aboriginal communities.
Two Things that stood out from the Podcast
From a personal opinion, I believe that the government, law enforcement officials and other concerned stakeholders should be held accountable to issues associated with public safety. Also, governments and stakeholders from the criminal justice system are expected to show a high level of responsibility in the provision of effective public safety and security measures. However, this podcast highlights the manner in, which the United States Government and Canada, including other relevant stakeholders have shown a high level of irresponsibility with regard to the provision of security services to members of the Aboriginal community. Hundreds of Aboriginal women are murdered and their cases mysteriously disappear. The government and parties from the law enforcement sector are seemingly unwilling to disclose their actions in connection to the above problems. The most interesting factor about lack of accountability among relevant stakeholders in the protection of the lives of the Aboriginal community is in both countries. In the recent past, both nations have made several attempts through their political leaders to present themselves as democratic societies, which value the lives of individuals from diverse ethnic groups.
Other than the lack of accountability by the government to equally and properly protect the lives of the Aboriginal community, it is imperative to appreciate that this podcast offers an essential platform for scholars to understand the root-cause of the current high level of mistrust between members of the First Nation and law enforcement officials. The lack of willingness, particularly, by law enforcement officials and other key actors in the criminal justice system to commit during investigations, triggers mistrust and elicits fear among local Aboriginal community.
Walker, C. (October 25). S1 Episode 0: Who Killed Alberta Williams? [Web log post]. Retrieved December 9, 2018, from https://podcast-a.akamaihd.net/mp3/podcasts/missing-GCDZNxIv-20180302.mp3