This article is a response to the letter to the editor published on March 27, 2013, by the Nanaimo Daily News, written by Don Olsen, which has since been removed from their website. An apology was issued by the newspaper after the racist letter sparked outrage and a protest.
It was at least 16,500 years ago (according to ethnographers mapping genetic lineage) when the first peoples began moving from the Beringia into what we now know as Canada, and indigenous people know from our oral history that we have been here since the time period we call time immemorial.
This should be considered, and in all the years since then, First Nations people in Canada have done and continue to do the following:
Are our people astoundingly resilient? Yes.
Do we need help? No. Do we need equitable and fair treatment? Yes.
Are we sovereign nations with the right to self-governance? Yes.
In case you didn't know, yes, we do pay taxes. We have had our resources stolen, yet the services that are provided to most Canadians (through all taxpayers' money) like education, health, and infrastructure, are embarrassingly underfunded and of lesser quality in aboriginal communities. That's called systemic and institutional racism. (We could speculate and say that is one reason why there's been a lot of commotion lately about the Indian Act, which is a separate set of laws that only applies to one group of people in Canada.)
The only way to fix this situation is to continue to build empowerment of our people, with the support of our allies and fellow justice-seekers. It would also be useful for the average Canadian to educate himself about the true reasons for the current circumstances. Because in reality, indigenous people have been advocating for equity, justice, and fairness since the first treaty negotiations began on our land in 1763. (That was 104 years before Canada even became a nation.)
Turn off the ignorance. Do away with this "handouts" and claims of "special treatment" nonsense.
Instead of foolishly insisting that everything to do with First Nations was either "primitive" or a long time ago, let us stand together to create a better future for the next seven generations of people who reside in this land.
Just like indigenous nations have been doing all along.
Protesters gathered at the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/28/racist-nanaimo-daily-news-first-nations-letter_n_2971956.html" target="_blank">Nanaimo Daily News</a> office to demonstrate against the paper's decision to print a letter that insulted First Nations people.
Protesters gathered in front of the Nanaimo Daily News office to demonstrate against the paper's decision to print a letter that insulted First Nations people.
Thrifties grocery franchise is pulling their ads from @NanaimoDaily because of the overtly racist commentary it publishes. #CdnPoli #INM
Respond to racists like @NanaimoDaily with intelligence & truth like @SettlerColonial http://t.co/mRbInnQX9F And then punch their face: #INM
Many thanks to @ThriftyFoods for listening to the community and pulling its ads from @NanaimoDaily. I can continue shopping there everyday.
The good people @ThriftyFoods show that not everyone in the VancouverIsland business community is low-down racist like @NanaimoDaily anymore
Boycott @nanaimodaily and their racist propaganda #bcpoli http://t.co/KZ8VhWbkUx
In case you missed @NanaimoDaily racist article. #cdnpoli #bcpoli #idlenomore #FN http://t.co/14UxUwkaZs
@NanaimoDaily took down racist article,here is pic. FB event #idlenomore #EducateNanaimoDaily https://t.co/zvvLzRMiXH http://t.co/mwr9Ko8BMx
@dodge_canada @BMW_Canada So I see you support racism! I will NOT be supporting you! @NanaimoDaily #INM http://t.co/JCtYk1z2dQ
@NanaimoDaily your news sucks and you should probably educate your reporters on Canadian colonization
@CKNW Here's Don Olsen's 'facts' he thinks 'public needs to know about First Nations' as published by @NanaimoDaily. http://t.co/0X3hjie6Zj
Remember, @NanaimoDaily, you are not issuing a statement of regret that people are upset, you are appologizing for doing something wrong.
@NanaimoDaily under fire on social media after a letter to the editor sparked outrage http://t.co/CaldlUSvhG
@CTVNewsChandler @NanaimoDaily @CTVNewsVI The electronic version of the shocking, hateful editorial has been removed
@nanaimodaily I guess you're above the Charter but do you think it might inform editorial on letters? http://t.co/vXAksIe4sw @riicnews
@nanaimodaily, I know a few 6 yr olds you could hire to raise the level of discourse in your rag. #noplaceforhatehere
Canada a just society? Why don't anti-Native hate speech perps like @NanaimoDaily face the legal consequences that Holocaust denyers do?
Follow Danica Denomme on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DonnaMayhem