Tag Archives: Cindy Gladue

Protesters Will Continue To Press For Public Inquiry On Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women

Cindy family

Family members embrace one another as protesters rally outside Edmonton’s City Hall. THE CANADIAN PRESS

By Dene Moore | Daily Brew

There is some relief that the Alberta Crown is appealing the acquittal of a man accused of killing Cindy Gladue, but the Edmonton woman’s death remains a rallying point for those frustrated with the lack of official action on missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.

At least 23 rallies were held across the country on Thursday to demand justice.

Perry Bellegarde, chief of the Assembly of First Nations, was among the crowd in Saskatoon.

Bellegarde welcomed the appeal but says the fundamental problem remains.

“I am outraged by the original decision,” Bellegarde says in a statement. “First Nations people from across Canada are outraged by the original decision.

“This stands as one too many examples of systemic discrimination towards First Nations people.”

Gladue, 36, bled to death in an Edmonton motel bathtub from an 11-centimetre wound in the wall of her vagina.

Bradley Barton, a 46-year-old long-haul trucker from Ontario, was acquitted by a jury last month of first-degree murder and the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Barton admitted in court that he’d hired Gladue for sex.

He testified that they’d engaged in rough sex and that it was consensual. If he caused the injury, it was inadvertent, Barton told the jury.

He said he was asleep as she died in June 2011.

The Crown said Gladue was stabbed intentionally but even if it was an injury caused during sex, there could not have been consent.

Critics of the verdict point out that Gladue’s blood-alcohol level was four times the legal limit, questioning the claim that the sex could ever have been consensual.

Gladue was one of 1,017 indigenous women murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012, according to a report released last year by RCMP. Another 164 aboriginal women were missing in that time.

The Alberta Crown filed an appeal of the verdict on Thursday.

“The death of Cindy Gladue was shocking and appalling,” Crown prosecutor Michelle Doyle says in a statement.

It caused significant harm to her family and the community and the Crown takes that seriously, she says.

While an Alberta Justice spokesman told reporters the decision to appeal is based solely on legal issues, more than 4,000 people have signed an online petition asking Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis to appeal.

Gladue’s mother and daughters were among those who gathered in Edmonton to mourn her.

In Kenora, Ont., Winnipeg, St. John’s and Victoria, men and women held signs demanding justice for the Cree mother whose violent death has become a rallying point in the fight for missing and murdered indigenous women.

In Toronto, a young aboriginal woman danced in Gladue’s honour and in Whitehorse protesters sang prayer songs on the courthouse steps.

Protesters in Vancouver demanded justice for not only Gladue but all aboriginal women.

“Decisions like this send a devastating message to Indigenous women: It says `Cindy Gladue and other indigenous women, your lives don’t matter,’” Bellegarde says.

“We need fundamental change so that the justice system is accessible, respectful of the victims of violence and their families.  We are simply seeing too many of our people coming into harm and to that we say ‘enough.’”

The assembly and others say they will continue to press government for a public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

Crown Files Appeal As Justice For Cindy Gladue Rallies Take Place Across Canada

Protesters rally with a drum circle for Cindy Gladue in Edmonton, Thursday, April 2, 2015.

Protesters rally with a drum circle for Cindy Gladue in Edmonton, Thursday, April 2, 2015.

By Red Power Media Staff

On Thursday, thousands rallied across Canada to protest the acquittal of the man accused of murdering Cindy Gladue, an aboriginal woman from Edmonton.

Gladue, 36, was a Cree mother of three found dead in an Edmonton hotel, of wounds the Defense claimed were from consensual rough sex. The Crown called it First Degree Murder. That was unable to be proven and Ontario trucker Bradley Barton, was acquitted of the charge. On Thursday the crown announced it will be seeking an appeal.

Cindy Gladue, died in an Edmonton hotel. Photo: Facebook

Cindy Gladue, a mother of three was found dead in an Edmonton hotel. Photo: Facebook

News that Alberta prosecutors had filed a request for a second trial came just before about 300 people gathered for a rally and march outside the Edmonton courthouse where the trial took place.

Gina Degerness said she was happy about the appeal and wanted to show support for Gladue and her aboriginal sisters.

“I want this to stop happening to our people,” she said.


Family members embrace one another as protesters rally outside Edmonton’s City Hall on Thursday, April 2, 2015 in support of Cindy Gladue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Topher Seguin

Gladue’s mother and three daughters also attended the rally, along with several First Nations chiefs. Many demanded government action for missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Grand Chief of the Treaty Six First Nations, Bernice Martial says this rally shows that Aborginial women are standing in solidarity.

Protesters fill the streets of Edmonton on Thursday to show their support for Cindy Gladue.

Protesters fill the streets of Edmonton on Thursday to show their support for Cindy Gladue.

Protesters held signs with messages like “Indigenous women are valued and loved,” “Justice for Cindy” and “No more stolen sisters” as some led prayers and delivered speeches to the crowd.

“We give gratitude for the gift that she’s providing here, in the way that she suffered and what happened to her is bringing all these people together and bringing awareness to the Canadian public about the plight of our aboriginal women,” one woman said.

Aboriginal activists and Canadians held rallies in 20 cities including St. John, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. In Winnipeg protesters gathered in the snow, some offered tobacco to a sacred fire, as the sound of drums beat in the background. The news of an appeal earned cheers at the vigil/protest, which was organized by Manitoba Moon Voices Inc.

Justice and Vigil for Cindy Gladue Treaty 1 Solidarity Action

Winnipeg: Justice and Vigil for Cindy Gladue Treaty 1 Solidarity Action. (Photo Facebook)

Thousands of people protested across the country to send the message that aboriginal lives matter.

Manitoba MP Niki Ashton stood up in the House Of Commons to support the protests:

Niki Ashton: People and systems have tried to de-humanize Cindy Gladue, but today’s calls for justice honour her memory. Justice for Cindy Gladue and for all Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

#JusticeForCindyGladue was also trending on Twitter.

Below is a selection of some of the most powerful photos from the rallies:


“The death of Cindy Gladue was shocking and appalling,” Alberta Chief Crown Prosecutor Michelle C. Doyle said in a brief statement. “It also resulted in significant harm to her family and the community.”

Gladue’s death has become another flashpoint in the discussions about missing and murdered aboriginal women and the federal government’s refusal to call a national inquiry into the matter.



Cindy Gladue Case: Not Guilty Verdict Ignites Outrage, Protests (GRAPHIC)

Protests are being organized this week, calling for justice in Cindy Gladue's death. | Facebook

Protests are being organized this week, calling for justice in Cindy Gladue’s death. | Facebook

By Andree Lau | The Huffington Post

WARNING: This story contains graphic details. The following information about violence may be triggering to survivors.

The circumstances of Cindy Gladue’s last hours were horrific. The mother of two bled to death in a motel bathtub, suffering from an 11-centimetre vaginal wound.

And the trial of the man accused of killing her was no less appalling, say aboriginal activists.

Earlier this month, an Edmonton jury found Ontario trucker Bradley Barton not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of Gladue, a First Nations woman.

Outrage over the verdict has spurred a letter-writing campaign, asking the Crown to initiate an appeal. An online petition is also collecting support for another trial. Protests across Canada are planned this week.

Barton, 46, testified at his month-long trial that Gladue’s injury was accidentally caused by rough sex when he thrust his fingers into her, reported the Edmonton Journal.

The Crown argued that Gladue — whose blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit — could not have have agreed to sex, and that Barton intentionally stabbed the sex trade worker, reported The Globe and Mail.

Alberta’s chief medical examiner brought Gladue’s preserved vagina into court as evidence, arguing that the jury needed to understand the nature of the wound. It was the first time part of a body has been presented as evidence at a Canadian trial, reported CBC News.

“Whatever you decide, this is not an accident,” Crown prosecutor Carrie-Ann Downey told the jury.

cindy gladue signs

Protest signs call for justice for Cindy Gladue.

The jury of nine men and two women acquitted Barton of both first-degree murder and manslaughter on March 18.

“This is another example of the way aboriginal women in Canada are marginalized, erased, and denied justice,” said Edmonton activist Fawn Lamouche in a news release.

After the decision, the Journal reported that Barton’s laptop showed he visited pornography websites featuring “extreme penetration and torture.” The evidence was not introduced at the trial after the judge ruled it wasn’t obtained lawfully by investigators.

Protests for justice

Rallies are being organized in at least 14 Canadian cities on Thursday to protest the verdict. The events have the support of Amnesty International, Idle no More, and the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, said Lamouche.

Organizers point out that a 2014 RCMP report found 1,017 aboriginal women and girls were killed between 1980 and 2012, a homicide rate about 4.5 times higher than that of all other women in Canada.

The Edmonton acquittal just shows how violence against indigenous women is normalized, wrote scholar Sarah Hunt and activist Naomi Sayers in a column for The Globe and Mail. They also argued that bringing Gladue’s pelvis into the courtroom was another dehumanization of aboriginal people.

One of Gladue’s daughters wrote on Facebook this week: “I cannot believe it’s been almost 4 years, I miss you so much and I wish you could be here to meet my beautiful baby.”

Gladue’s family are owed justice, say supporters.

Where is the collective outrage?,” wrote Julie Kaye, an assistant professor of sociology at the King’s University in Edmonton. “The Gladue family deserves an appeal. Indigenous women and women in sex industries deserve an appeal. Sex workers do not consent to blunt trauma and 11-centimetre tears and death. Cindy Gladue did not consent to violence.”

Justice for Cindy Gladue March Thursday, April 2, 2015 #Edmonton #yeg #MMIW #MMAW

Justice for Cindy Gladue March Thursday, April 2, 2015 #Edmonton #yeg #MMIW #MMAW


Cindy Gladue Case Sends A Chilling Message To Indigenous Women

(Christopher S. Reed/iStockphoto)

(Christopher S. Reed/iStockphoto)

By Sarah Hunt and Naomi Sayers | Globe and Mail, Mar. 25 2015

WARNING: This story contains graphic details. The following information about violence may be triggering to survivors.

The logic usually goes that if someone admits to injuring another person to the point that those injuries contribute to their death, the law will respond by convicting that person of a crime – the crime of murder, or manslaughter, if intent to kill cannot be proven. Not so, it seems, for indigenous women like Cindy Gladue.

Last week, a jury of nine men and two women in Edmonton found Bradley Barton not guilty of Cindy Gladue’s murder, despite evidence that he had caused the wound that led to her death. The details of the case are too traumatizing to recount in full, but you have to question what is considered justice if an 11 cm wound inside a woman’s vagina that results in her bleeding to death is not evidence enough that a crime was committed.

The details of the trial indicate how mechanisms within the justice system can be used to normalize violence against indigenous women. The violence they experience often seems to lie beyond the arms of the law: Violence with impunity; murder without fault. The illogics run deep, yet to indigenous women, they sound all too familiar.

The courtroom treatment of Cindy’s body is just one efficacious expression of the dehumanization of indigenous people – especially indigenous women – by processes of Canadian law.

Her preserved pelvis was brought into court. On a screen, the wound to her vagina was displayed as proof of her dehumanized status. Is there any reason the jury needed anything more than hard copy photos of the wound? Indigenous peoples bodies have been treated as specimens for centuries, though usually not in murder trials these days.

This treatment of Ms. Gladue demonstrates just how a 36-year old mother can be imagined as different from the jurors’ own mothers, and how the stigma of her work in the sex trade, her indigeneity and her womanhood all combined to naturalize her death as routine by jury. It was well established that Ms. Gladue met Mr. Barton in the context of her work in the sex trade. She met with him twice and camera evidence was presented showing the two of them entering the hotel room where she later died.

Mr. Barton said her death was due to consensual rough sex – even though in our view she could not give consent since her blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit. He admitted to his actions, but he said he didn’t mean it. The jury has sent a message that killing an indigenous woman is acceptable. How many more deaths will it take before the system is compelled to change?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other politicians have focused on improved policing as a key element of increasing safety for indigenous women. Yet we can see that legal violence comes from many sources, not only from police. How can native women be expected to turn to a system in which racism, sexism, and stigma against sex workers runs rampant. The criminalization of prostitution conspired to make the victim’s sex work experience the origin of the violence she faced instead of placing fault in the violent actions of the assailant. If the defence concedes that Mr. Barton committed the acts that contributed to Cindy’s death, the fact that money changed hands does not magically nullify the act. An acquittal should not have been an option.

While Cindy’s family has been mourning her death for four years, this week should be one of mourning for all Canadians. Mourning for Cindy Gladue. Mourning missing and murdered 1,200 Indigenous women and girls. And mourning the loss of any illusion that there ever was justice for racialized women in this country.

Mr. Harper has said the legal system is equipped to address the murders of native women. We have seen just how the law treats these deaths. Indigenous leaders – and by that we mean community advocates, not elected officials – continue to call Mr. Harper’s message out for what it is: a lie. There is no justice for indigenous women. Not for Cindy Gladue. Not for the thousands of our loved ones.

Imagine a world where all indigenous women, in life and in death, were treated with the utmost respect. Imagine a world where a woman’s value was not dependent on how she makes a living. Cindy Gladue is a person worthy of justice, as all of us are. Many Indigenous women are expressing outrage that her life seems so expendable in the eyes of the law. Who will join us in continuing to seek justice for Cindy Gladue?

Dr. Sarah Hunt is a member of the Kwagiulth band of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. She is a scholar and advocate who has worked for more than 15 years on Indigenous anti-violence and justice initiatives; Naomi Sayers is an Anishnaabe Kwe, indigenous feminist and sex work activist with experience working in the sex trade in various places in Canada, including northern Ontario. She writes at kwetoday.com.