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Anna's Essay: The Starlight Tours

The Starlight Tours is a practice of police taking Indigenous people and dropping

them off at the edge of the city in the middle of a winter night. Have you ever heard of it? If not, do not worry, most Canadians do not know about it. This practice is extremely unconstitutional and criminal. It is our citizen’s job to be aware of this and stand for what is right and wrong.

The Saskatoon freezing deaths, or commonly called The Starlight Tours, were a series of deaths of Indigenous Canadians in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan that took place in the 2000s. Their deaths were allegedly caused by members of the Saskatoon Police Service who would arrest Indigenous people, usually men, for alleged drunkenness and/or disorderly behaviour, sometimes without proof or justification. After arrest they would then drive them to the outskirts of the city at night in temperatures as low as -30 degrees where they would take their shoes and clothing, abandon them, leaving them to walk back alone. The practice was known as taking Indigenous people for "starlight

tours"and dates back to at least 1976. Many victims died from hypothermia.

A very disturbing aspect is the fact that the Saskatoon police have tried to cover

up the abuse and murders of these people. It was declared (In March 2016 from the Saskatoon Phoenix) that a member of the police deleted the references of the “The

Starlight Tours” wikipedia page. As of 2020, despite convictions for related offences, no Saskatoon police officer has been convicted specifically for having caused these freezing deaths.

It is clear and simple that these failures in policing contribute to a climate of

suspicion and a widespread belief that the police target and discriminate Indigenous

women and men. These crimes must not go unpunished, we must unite as citizens and

demand justice for these souls that passed away under unimaginable conditions. In the

words of the infamous Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you

have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

-- Written by Anna Rezaigue

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