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More From Our Oh-So-Progressive Neighbors to the North

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Once again, it’s worth noting that Canada has the same issues with racist policing as the United States.

He survived Canada’s notoriously abusive schools for Indigenous children and went on to lead his own nation. He battled governments and oil giants over the pollution of his traditional territory, garnering him the praise and admiration of Desmond Tutu, Greta Thunburg and celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio.

But when police officers double-teamed Allan Adam, the outspoken leader of one of Canada’s First Nations, tackling him to the pavement and punching him over an expired license plate, he said they treated him as though he were voiceless and powerless.

“They did it to the chief. Not just any chief,” said Mr. Adam, the leader of the Dene nation of 1,200 people in northern Alberta, which famously fought for its rights in the midst of an oil boom affecting its territory. He was someone known, he said, to “not back down from a fight.”

“They shouldn’t have picked me,” Mr. Adam said in a phone interview from his home in Fort Chipewyan on remote Lake Athabasca. “They made a mistake.”

Mr. Adam was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. On Wednesday, the charges against him were dropped.

But videos of the police beating an unarmed man have prompted not just an investigation into the officers involved, but also outrage across Canada, with growing demands for an overhaul of the country’s policing system, which imprisons Indigenous and black people at highly disproportionate rates.

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