Petition by Wasauksing journalist calls for top Mountie’s removal

“Within the context of mainstream society just being Indigenous often makes us subversive,” Rebeka Tabobondung says

With the RCMP under heavy scrutiny for systemic racism, a journalist from an Ontario First Nation has started a petition asking that Commissioner Brenda Lucki be removed.

Rebeka Tabobondung, founder and publisher Muskrat Magazine, found herself wondering: If Lucki doesn’t understand what systemic racism is, how can she act on it?

Tabobondung says the police violence all over the news lately is disturbing to her family – and something has to change.

“I want to do this for my son and for our community to make change happen, so I hope that people hear about this petition on change.org calling for the resignation of RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. Please sign the petition if you support it and let me get the word out, and let’s work together to seize this moment and address systemic racism in the RCMP now.”

In a round of interviews with national media in June, Lucki disputed the definition of systemic racism. She then walked those comments back and issued a statement unequivocally admitting that systemic racism exists in the federal police force.

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Tabobondung says as a journalist she sometimes finds herself straddling the lines between journalism and activism.

“For any Indigenous person we always confront the word of activism because I think within the context of mainstream society just being Indigenous often makes us subversive. Just being who we are.”

Last month, Senator Lillian Dyck called for Lucki’s resignation.

Alvin Fiddler, grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, has also called for her removal.

Fiddler said he has spoken with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair on this, and firing Lucki would send a strong message to Indigenous communities.

“If they’re serious about addressing systemic racism within the RCMP then he [Blair] needs to start by firing Commissioner Lucki and putting in place someone who understands the issues, someone who is committed to fixing these long-standing issues.”

APTN News reached out to Blair and Lucki for interviews but got no response.

APTN has been requesting interviews with the minister and commissioner for several weeks now, but those requests have been declined.

Reporter / Ottawa

Originally from the Cree Nation of Chisasibi on the eastern coast of James Bay, Quebec, Jamie has lived in Ottawa since 2015. Trained in journalism at Carleton University, he has worked as a freelance print journalist and as a writer/researcher for the Cree unit of CBC North out of Montreal. Jamie was hired as the reporter/correspondent for the Ottawa bureau in October 2019.