Published December 1, 2019
POULSBO, Wash. — Over 60 people gathered for a peaceful vigil at the Poulsbo city Christmas tree lighting to honor Stonechild Chiefstick on what would have been his 40th birthday. Chiefstick, a Chippewa Cree man and beloved Suquamish community member, was killed at Poulsbo’s third of July fireworks celebration by Poulsbo police officer Craig Keller.
Stonechild Chiefstick was killed by a Pousbo Police Department officer while attending a fireworks celebration.
A document distributed by the organizers of the vigil reads: “We are holding a candlelight vigil to honor Stonechild Chiefstick at the Poulsbo christmas tree lighting. We carry candles to carry the light of Stoney on his 40th birthday so that Poulsbo remembers his legacy. We are committed to holding peaceful, non-violent space and we will actively de-escalate conflict with the police and members of the public.”
The vigil was organized by local activists who have come together with the stated purpose of demanding justice and accountability from the City of Poulsbo and the Poulsbo Police Department. In attendance were Chiefstick’s family and friends, Suquamish Tribe members, local faith leaders, teachers, and concerned members of the community.
“It was heartening to see so many people show up for a peaceful vigil to honor a man on his birthday whose life was ended without justice,” said Erica Nixon Mack, who attended the vigil Friday evening. “Poulsbo Police and the Mayor have failed to uphold the safety, dignity, and value of Native people at community gatherings like this one. Now is a time for leadership, justice, and reconciliation. Stoney’s life was sacred and valuable.”
Citizens have come together to demand justice for Stonechild, for his children and family, for Indigenous people, and for all whose lives have been lost to a violent police system.