'Racist' Nanaimo Daily News Letter Targets First Nations Again, Readers React (TWEETS)

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People gather outside the Nanaimo Daily News office in March to protest a letter to the editor. Facebook
People gather outside the Nanaimo Daily News office in March to protest a letter to the editor. Facebook

The Nanaimo Daily News has prompted swift outrage on social media with the publication of a letter to the editor in which First Nations are criticized for "refusing to evolve as equal Canadian citizens and perpetuating the perceived notion that they remain under the heel of non-aboriginals."

Authored by Bill McRitchie, the letter—which has since been taken down from the newspaper's site—goes on to accuse First Nations of making "outrageous demands for land and taxpayer money."

See the full text of the letter under the slideshow below.

The letter comes just months after the paper was forced to apologize over another letter that stated First Nations have a history that is "notable only for underachievement."

The apology came after a strong protest from different groups, including the city's mayor, and led to the creation of a working group to combat racism.

The paper came under heavy fire on social media Monday, as the link to the latest letter was circulated.

Twitter user Reba DeGuevara summed up much of the reaction with her tweet, criticizing the author and the publication it was published in.

Others criticized the paper's timing, as the letter was published the day after the Reconciliation Walk drew thousands in Vancouver, and accused it of using racism to sell papers.

See more Twitter reaction in the gallery, and read the full text of the letter below:

Nanaimo Daily News Racist Letter (TWEETS)
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Full text of Bill McRitchie's letter published in the Nainaimo Daily News:

I always have difficulty coming to grips with the condemnation of 21st century Canadians by aboriginals for injustice suffered by them in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

To be sure, North American aboriginals were treated terribly by those European nations that were compelled to spread their empires throughout the world and to subjugate any and all indigenous peoples who were perceived a threat to colonialism/imperialism as well as by fledgling Canadian governments, in essence extensions of those nations. North American aboriginals were not the only ones to suffer from the encroachment of foreign powers and the indignity visited upon those poor souls who were unable to withstand the onslaught.

It should be noted, however, that the world was a very different place in those eras. The class system was very much evident and practised throughout the world and tribal systems persisted.

The concept of human rights was virtually unknown; thus, the ruling class considered it their mandate and God-given right to subjugate the perceived lesser mortals who were considered unable to control their own destiny. Treaties were merely empty promises designed to overtly appease the indigenes while covertly exploiting them.

As our country matured and demographics changed through massive immigration and the evolution of our society, however, the playing field began to level.

Unfortunately, the First Nations in Canada have tenaciously clung to their tribal system, refusing to evolve as equal Canadian citizens and perpetuating the perceived notion that they remain under the heel of non-aboriginals.

This notion has been effectively used to develop a strategy for making outrageous demands for land and taxpayer money.

I'm not a great believer in the sins of the father being visited upon the sons. It is my opinion that no individual or groups of individuals should receive special treatment in Canada because of their ethnic, religious or historical backgrounds.

Having said that, I would tenaciously defend the right for those same individuals and groups to honour and display their heritage and to practise their religion, as long as it does not conflict with the democratic laws of our land or impose demands that once again tilt the relatively level playing field.

Bill McRitchie

Nanaimo

© Copyright 2013

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