In the Blog

And the racism continues

September 19th, 2008     by Jessica Yee     Comments

I was on CTV’s Canada AM this morning talking about the racist comments made by an aide to Conservative Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon, against Norman Matchewan, a member of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, who is also a teacher and part-time police officer.

In a conversation recorded by the Aboriginal People’s Television Network outside Cannon’s Maniwaki campaign office during its opening Tuesday, Matchewan asked the aide, Darlene Lanningan, whether he will be arrested if he visits Cannon’s campaign office. She responded:

“If you behave and you’re sober and there’s no problem and if you sit down and whatever, I don’t care.”

The Barriere Lake reserve is about 300 kilometres northwest of Ottawa in Cannon’s riding of Pontiac, and a group including Norman Matchewan had visited the office for a rally.

She went on to say that, “One of them showed up the other day and was drinking.” There were several allegations she made that were much worse after that.

In 1991 the Algonquins of Barriere Lake signed a Trilateral Agreement with the governments of Canada and Quebec, establishing a landmark sustainable development, conservation, and resource co-management process. Not surpisingly, the Government of Canada has regularly tried to ignore their obligations under the agreement. On March 10th, 2008, for the third time in 12 years, the government of Canada interfered in their internal governance, ousting the Customary Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council and recognizing a Chief and Council whom the Barriere Lake Elder’s Council say were not selected in accordance with the community’s customs and whom the majority of the community does not support.

Lannigan basically said what I know for a fact: a lot of people, especially near reserve communities who are non-Native, already make stereotypical assumptions of us. This is the environment the youth in our communities are growing up in, but we’re doing such an awesome job of kicking ass in so many things that it’s only a reminder of what we need to resist and stand up against.

Tags: news flash, on the job, race and racism

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