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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Manitoba government "uses language to distort the obvious truth about colonialism"

First Nations leaders denounce "racist political propaganda distorting and romanticizing colonialism", release action plan and call for the resignation of Manitoba Minister of Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Affairs, Dr. Alan Lagimodiere.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister

In a very strongly worded July 19 press release Treaty 5 Chiefs and Grand Chiefs of the Summit of Treaty Five Sovereign Nations denounced Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government for having "shown indifference toward First Nations during their term of office with no regard to the legal status of Treaty first nations."

It states further that:

They have made public statements that amounts to provocation and racism against First Nations. PC Premier also recently made comments about colonial history that amounts to racist political propaganda distorting and romanticizing colonialism. Subsequently, the newly appointed Minister of Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Affairs, Dr. Alan Lagimodiere defended Residential Schools as being well intended and displaying no sensitivity to the young children that perished in Residential Schools.

Key Quotes:

The Progressive Conservative government uses language to distort the obvious truth about colonialism and to avoid accountability on the rights of First Nations. At a time when our people are recovering children's bodies and our survivors are finally starting to be acknowledged by the general public the comments by the PC government has caused a setback by the use of such irresponsible and volatile words. We are stepping to the plate to deal with this racism that is directed at our people. - Chief Clarence Easter, Chemawawin Cree Nation
Within ten minutes of taking his new position Dr Allen Lagimodiere proved himself as an embarrassment to reconciliation and Indigenous relations. His comments were harmful retriggering anger and discontent among our people. There was no good intention at Indian residential schools to promote, and it is catastrophically irresponsible to suggest otherwise. We call for his resignation and, he must step down. - Chief Sheldon Kent, Black River Cree Nation

In response to what they call "the Manitoba Conservative government's deliberate attempt to distort the history of First Nations which minimize the effects of colonialism and the policy of genocide at Indian Residential Schools" they are proposing a twelve point "action plan to combat hate crime and racism".

This includes developing a "Report on Hate Crimes and Racism and to report these hate crimes and racism to the United Nations", lobbying "Canada to criminalize hate crime and racism" and to "condemn and publicly expose blatant manifestations of hate crimes, hate propaganda, racism and discrimination through First Nation social media".


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