February 18, 2021, Edmonton – Ontario Man Finally Found Guilty for killing Cindy Gladue, Mother of Three.

The month-long jury trial was the second for Bradley Barton, an Ontario truck driver, who was charged in June 2011 with the murder of Ms. Gladue, a woman whose human dignity was violated in the 2015 trial proceedings through the use of presumptions concerning her vocation, racist remarks concerning her Indigeneity, and sexist language diminishing her as a woman.  The culmination of violation though was the introduction of Ms. Gladue’s body parts into the courtroom as evidence – something so barbaric and a first in the history of criminal trial procedures in so-called civilized society.  The way Ms. Gladue was dehumanized in so many dimensions during the 2015 trial was seen by the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW) as a clear example of how Indigenous women are disproportionately targeted for violence in Canada.

Following Barton’s acquittal in 2015, public outrage erupted across Canada, protesting what was perceived to be the criminal justice system’s condonement of violence against Indigenous women.   

The IAAW lobbied vigorously and, along with another women’s advocacy group (Women’s Legal and Education Action Fund), successfully gained intervenor status in the Crown’s appeal of Barton’s acquittal to the Alberta Court of Appeal.  As co-intervenors, IAAW and LEAF argued that judicial errors allowed prejudice to infect the trial proceedings, raising discriminatory myths about Indigenous women and consent based on sexual history.  The Court of Appeal’s ruling in 2017 recognized that “myths and stereotypes continue to stalk the halls of justice in cases involving sexual offences”, and that, as a result of significant judicial errors, a retrial was ordered.

Barton subsequently appealed the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, but the Supreme Court agreed with the Alberta Court of Appeal and upheld the order that Barton be retried for killing Cindy Gladue. The Court gave clear direction that

all participants within the criminal justice system should take reasonable steps to address systemic biases, prejudices, and stereotypes, and that in sexual assault cases where the victim is an Indigenous woman or girl, trial judges would be well advised to provide an express instruction (to the jury) aimed at countering prejudice against Indigenous women and girls.

IAAW has continued to be involved with Ms. Gladue’s Mother, providing moral and legal support to her throughout the appeals and re-trial.

Lisa Weber, legal counsel for Ms. McLeod observed: “…while the re-trial proceedings seem to have eliminated [the legal consideration of] direct references to derogatory, sexist and racist myths and stereotypes against Indigenous women, it is disappointing to have observed instances where some of the same, and similarly inappropriate myths and stereotypes crept into the process at various points and in indirect ways.”

IAAW recognizes that the battle against sexism and racism against Indigenous women is a long and difficult struggle; this is the experience of so many, but we must continue to be ever vigilant to not accept such injustice.   IAAW is thankful for the support that has been received in this important case, especially from those who see the negative impacts of myths and stereotypes on the lives of Indigenous women and girls, and who take a stand against such injustice.

While today’s verdict does not bring Cindy Gladue back to her family, we pray that at very least justice served toward the perpetrator who took her life brings them peace.

For media contacts or for more information contact:

Rachelle Venne, IAAW CEO
Ph: (587) 635 3046
Email:  rvenne@iaaw.ca

Lisa D. Weber, President IAAW/Counsel for Donna McLeod
Ph:  (780) 289-6365
Email:  lisa@weberlaw.ca

IAAW Board of Directors Recruitment

Qualities we are looking for

  • Reside in a community not represented already such as northern communities, High Prairie, Slave Lake, Grande Prairie, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, St. Paul, Lethbridge, Red Deer.
  • Experience working for/with Aboriginal women
  • Experienced in an area in which IAAW delivers programs or planning to work in – financial literacy, corrections, justice reform, policy development, violence prevention or leadership development. Or is willing to share a skill pro bono, such as a lawyer, an accountant.
  • Is active in the community and has cultural knowledge
  • Have basic knowledge of the computer
  • Able to commit to 6 meetings/year + Esquao Awards and occasional teleconferences

Information on the Role


Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women Board is a governing body.  As a governing and policy Board, the Board is responsible to provide strategic directions and establish policy for the overall operation of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women.

General Information:

Duties and Number: The affairs of the Society will be managed by a Board of Directors, referred to as directors, trustees or governors.  The Board will consist of at least (7) persons, unless a fewer number of directors is determined by special resolution.

Qualifications: Every director must support the goals and objectives of the Society and be willing to donate their time, skills and knowledge to the benefit of the Society.  Directors must also:

  • Be eighteen (18) years of age or more;
  • Be a voting member of the Society;
  • Be recognized and respected members of the Aboriginal community; and,
  • Be elected by the members of the Society or, in the case of a Director appointed to represent the Society.

Election and Term: Directors will be appointed for a term of three (3) years.  The Director’s terms of office will be from the date of the meeting at which they are elected until their successors are appointed. All Directors may be appointed at the expiration of their term.

Remuneration of Directors: Remuneration of the directors will be determined by resolution of the Board of Directors.  Directors are entitled to be paid reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of director’s duties.

Committees and Subcommittees: The Executive may form committees and sub-committees, such as regional and working committees, as well as other committee or subcommittees, as it deems necessary or appropriate. The purposes and powers of these committees will be determined by the Executive Board. Committee members are entitled to be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in the exercise of their duties.

Meeting of Directors

Place or Meeting: Meetings of the Board of Directors may be held either at the head office or at any place within or outside Alberta and on such day as the Board will appoint.

Telephone Participation: If all of the directors’ consent, a meeting of directors may be held by means of telephone, electronic or other communication facilities as long as all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other simultaneously and instantaneously.  A director participating in such a meeting is deemed to be present at the meeting.

Please send letter of interest before February 15, 2021 to CEO, Rachelle Venne by email at rvenne@iaaw.ca.