It will be a difficult process for the family of Colten Boushie as the trial for his accused killer gets underway Monday.
“I’m just dreading to even attend this trial,” said Alvin Baptiste, Boushie’s uncle.
“No family should ever go through this. What we’re going through, it’s pretty well an ugly thing to face.”
Gerald Stanley, 55, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder after Boushie, 22, died at the Stanley farm near Biggar on Aug. 9, 2016.
Baptiste said as the start of the trial gets nearer, it seems to bug him more and more. He explained it’s hard for him to live a normal life after his nephew’s death, as he wakes up each morning and the thought is in the back of his mind.
He said it’s hard for his family too, including his sister Debbie Baptiste, Colten’s mother.
Boushie’s brother, William, had previously said Colten had been swimming and drinking with friends that August day. Some of those friends explained the vehicle they were travelling in blew a tire and pulled into Stanley’s farm for help.
Racial tensions have been high in the case, evident in social media comments that followed the death. Boushie was an Indigenous man and supporters of his have shown up by the dozens on many of the previous court dates. An increased police presence is expected outside the courthouse, but Baptiste doesn’t believe demonstrators on behalf of Boushie will get out of hand.
“I don’t really think it’ll turn violent,” he surmised.
A Facebook group called Farmers with Firearms had a message posted to its page wondering why there hasn’t been much talk of supporters of Stanley’s showing up to court as there has been for Boushie.
“As a farmer’s wife, I believe what Gerald Stanley did was to protect his family, however I think the courts will be pressured by aboriginal presence to make an example of him,” the post read.
“I think it should be posted somewhere, anywhere, that farmers support Gerald Stanley and the ability to defend our property from armed, drunk and violent trespassers, regardless of race. I would like it to be asked for people to rally in support of protecting one’s family that local farmers attend the trial as well,” the message continued.
With many eyes and ears likely to be fixated on this trial across the province and across the country, Baptiste wants to highlight racism and the need to eradicate it.
“We can’t pass this hatred and racism through the next generations like that. As First Nation people we cannot be waiting for another 150 years. We’re going to have to try and resolve these matters.”
The trial will begin Monday in the Town of Battleford with jury selection.