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Sedalia Fazio, left, opened the hearings in Montreal with a Mohawk opening address. The inquiry into mistreatment of Indigenous people in Quebec is headed by retired Superior Court Justice Jacques Viens, right. (Radio-Canada) Witnesses at the public inquiry into mistreatment of Indigenous people in Quebec shared stories of police brutality and violence during the first day of Montreal hearings.

Etuk Kasulluaq, a 27-year-old Inuk from Puvurnituq, Que. — 1,636 kilometres northwest of Montreal as the crow flies — was the first to testify Monday morning.

Kasulluaq said he was thrown down the stairs and jumped on by the two officers with the Kativik Regional Police Force after they found he had breached a condition not to drink alcohol.

"They said, ‘You breached your conditions,’ and I said, ‘No,’ and they pushed me down.… I was lying down on the ground, and they jumped on my leg," Kasulluaq said. He broke his knee and three ribs during the altercation.

"When I took deep breaths, there was big pain."

He said the officers arrested him and took him to the station to sober up, but despite relating his pain to them, the officers simply told him to go to the hospital on his own once he was released. ‘What they did by deeming that man innocent — we are open game; our children are open game. I’m sorry, non-Indigenous people may not feel that way, but we do.’ Kasulluaq, who is in custody at the Saint-Jérôme detention centre for breaching his conditions, was later prescribed morphine for three weeks for the pain caused by his cracked ribs.

He said he was arrested once again weeks later with his girlfriend. Kasulluaq says they were both made to strip naked in their cells. ‘Our children are open game’

Before Kasulluaq’s testimony, the hearing began with an opening ceremony led by a Mohawk woman, Sedalia Fazio, who also conducts sweat lodge ceremonies at the Botanical Gardens in Montreal.

Fazio spoke about an all-white jury in Battleford, Sask., finding farmer Gerald Boushie not guilty in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old from Red Pheasant Cree nation who ventured onto Stanley’s property in 2016.

"Right now, what they did by deeming that man innocent — we are open game; our children are open game. I’m sorry, non-Indigenous people may not feel that way, but we do," Fazio told the commission. “You can beat an aboriginal child. You can shoot an aboriginal child and there are no consequences. And I feel that there never will be.” — words of Mohawk elder Sedalia Fazio (left) as she opened the Montreal phase of Quebec’s inquiry into mistreatment of indigenous people pic.twitter.com/j3jSYDpyCZ — @jbernstien "You can beat an Aboriginal child. You can shoot an Aboriginal child , and there are no consequences. And I feel that there never will be," she said.

She, too, shared a personal story. Fazio said her son was chased down and beaten by police after he was caught shoplifting at 13. She said she doesn’t believe police would have treated her son the same way if he wasn’t Indigenous.

Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Quebec and Labrador, said the justice system’s failure to serve Indigenous people equally is not new.

"What it says is something has to be done," Picard told reporters. "It has to stop because we’ve seen too many examples of the justice system failing our peoples, and that’s what needs to change." Scars remain for years

Daniel Dufresne, the second witness who testified Monday, spoke about an incident that took place in November 2012, just after he turned 18.

Dufresne, born and raised in Kuujjuaq, got into […]

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