Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC) - The First Nations Leadership Council is hopeful the Frank Paul Inquiry will bring to light the truth surrounding the death of Frank Paul nine years ago. Paul, a Mi’kmaq man, died of hypothermia in December 1998 shortly after being released by the Vancouver Police Department into an east Vancouver alley.
“It was systemic, institutionalized racism that led to Frank Paul’s Death.” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “This inquiry is about exposing the investigation, or rather, lack of investigation into Frank Paul’s death” he added.
BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief A-in-chut (Shawn Atleo) indicated, “This inquiry has been a long time coming.” said the Regional Chief, “it is important that this inquiry provide an accurate account of the night Frank Paul died, so that recommendations can be made to change the policies and practices of justice systems so that this doesn’t happen in the future.”
“We are very relieved after years seeking justice for Frank Paul that the province through its commitment in the New Relationship, have established this important inquiry investigating the circumstance surrounding his death. We look forward to finding the answers to some of the questions that have plagued Frank Paul’s family for the past decade and to have the inquiry table recommendations that will help alleviate some of the systemic problems in the justice system faced by First Nations people”, said Chief Judith Sayers of the First Nations Summit political executive.
For Paul’s family, the inquiry represents a chance to bring some much needed closure to a sad chapter in their lives. “What happened to my cousin was a grave injustice,” said Peggy Clement, “We will never see Frank again, but through this inquiry, he may finally get the justice he deserves. I pray this never happens to another family.” She added.
The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nations. The Council works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.
For more information:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC, (250) 490-5314
Colin Braker, First Nations Summit, (604) 926-9903
Ryneld Starr, BC Assembly of First Nations, (604) 922-7733