Warning: This story contains distressing details.
The Manitoba Chiefs’ Assembly joined a growing number of indigenous groups and politicians, calling on the Minister of Royal and Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, to resign.
After former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould revealed a private message she received from Bennett, which she characterized as a racist, Bennett has been under fire this week. .
Bennett quickly apologized for the news. She seemed to imply that Wilson Rebald criticized the prime minister because she was worried about losing the MPs’ pensions.
“I think she should find other things to do,” War Chief Alan Dumas told CBC Power and politics.
“These comments are very provocative. At present, we have found unmarked mass graves all over the country. This is what our minister should be concerned about.”
The Union of Indian Chiefs of British Columbia also called on Bennett to resign and told the minister that it “is deeply disturbed and disgusted by the extreme coldness, malice, and ignorance you have shown through racist messages.”
A day ago, an aboriginal in Saskatchewan reported that they had found hundreds of unmarked graves in a former boarding school and asked Bennett to resign.
The Prime Minister has apologized and condemned Canada’s treatment of indigenous people in the past-and also defended Bennett.
Charlie Angus, an indigenous youth critic of the New Democratic Party, continued to call for Bennett’s firing on Friday.
Angus said in a statement: “On the day Canadians struggled to cope with the discovery of hundreds of bodies in unmarked graves, the Minister made a cheap and derogatory act on an Aboriginal leader who was saddened by these lost lives. Stab wounds.”
Trudeau supported Bennett, saying “she still has a lot of work to do”
Since the Cowessess First Nation report on Thursday initially found that there were 751 unmarked graves in a cemetery near the former Marieval Indian Residential School, Trudeau made his first public speech today.
“This is an extremely harmful government policy. It is a reality in Canada for many decades. Today’s Canadians are shocked and ashamed of our country’s behavior. This policy removes children from their homes, communities, and culture. Deprive them of language and force them to assimilate,” Trudeau said outside his home at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
The Saskatchewan report is based on the preliminary results of an investigation carried out by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation on the site of a former Kamloops Indian boarding school in British Columbia last month. The site has 215 The remains of two children were released later.
Watch: “We’re sorry,” Trudeau said after a report of 751 unmarked graves in Saskatchewan:
Trudeau also said that even though some people asked Bennett to resign, Bennett will remain in her position because “she has more work to do” in the indigenous files.
Yesterday, Bennett publicly apologized to Wilson Rebald, Canada’s first Aboriginal Attorney General. She previously hinted in a private letter to members of Congress that her concerns about boarding schools and the rights of Aboriginal peoples were actually to ensure that they were rich Member’s pension.
In a social media post, Wilson-Raybould attacked Trudeau yesterday, calling it a “selfish campaign” and asking him to put these ambitions aside, and promised to implement transformative indigenous rights legislation in 2018.
Bennett responded to Wilson-Raybould in a private message with only one word: “Pension?” Wilson-Raybould was one of the 142 members of Congress elected for the first time on October 19, 2015, which means if If she loses in the election before October 19, 2021, she will not be able to receive the MPs’ pension.
“Secretary Bennett’s approach is wrong,” Trudeau said. “It hurts. Of course, I’m deeply disappointed,” Trudeau said, adding that Bennett “is right to apologize because it is the wrong approach.”
“I spoke with Carolyn Bennett this morning. I know how hard she has worked and continued to work on this important document. I understand her heart. I know she has worked for this over the years. We all know that she has more work to do now. I know we will do it together.”
Watch: “I am deeply disappointed”-Trudeau reacts to the angry exchange between Carolyn Bennett and Jody Wilson-Raybould:
Anyone affected by the boarding school experience and those affected by the latest report can get support.
A nationwide Indian boarding school crisis hotline has been set up to provide support to survivors and those affected. People can call the 24-hour national crisis hotline: 1-866-925-4419 for emotional and crisis referral services. Now you can dial 306-522-7494 to use the special line in Saskatchewan.