April 14, 2004To the R.H. Irwin Cotler
Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street,
I am writing you concerning a very serious injustice that is happening to a Mi'gma family from Nova Scotia. Their mother and sister, Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash was murdered in 1976 in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge reservation.
Earlier this year, one man by the name of Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted for his role in the murder of Annie Mae. But there is a second man who resides in Vancouver by the name of John Graham who some have alleged, was the actual person responsible for her death. Presently, Mr. Graham is fighting extradition to the United States. We are asking the Government of Canada to have Mr. Graham extradited to the United States to stand trial for his involvement in this 28 year old unresolved case of murder.
As an organization that advocates on the rights and issues of Aboriginal women, we feel that it is important that the Minister of Justice become involved in this issue in order for justice to be served for the family of our late sister Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash. One cannot imagine the grief her family has felt over the years, but we are hoping that some sort of closure for the family may be brought about with the extradition and trial of John Graham to South Dakota.
We are not condemning or stating that he is guilty of murder. However, the law enforcement agencies in the U.S. feel that there is strong enough evidence against Mr. Graham to bring him to trial. Therefore we would like to see that justice be served to the family through the extradition of John Graham to the United States.
Aboriginal women have been marginalized and forgotten for too long now in the areas of justice. There is so much work to be done to rectify the issues of violence against women. It is our hope that the Government of Canada through its Minister of Justice, will walk beside us in combating the issue of violence against women and extradite Mr. Graham
In regards to cases such as murder, Justice must be blind to a person's race, creed and religion.
Thank you for considering our pleas of justice for Annie Mae.
Quebec Native Women Inc.
In the spirit of Anna Mae Pictou, Marley Shebala (Navajo/Zuni) — Spokeswoman-Indigenous Women for Justice — firstname.lastname@example.org
We are no longer silenced by fear
The IWJ is a unity sisterhood of women from indigenous nations located