The Girls of Fort Frances

Bands pull students out of Fort High

Fort Frances Bulletin
Friday, February 15, 2008

At least four First Nations bands have pulled their students from Fort Frances High
School over a “racist” video involving a half-dozen non-native female students that ended up on the Internet.

One source told the Times late this morning that the video depicted the female students dancing to the sounds of a pow-wow while holding bottles of liquor.

The video apparently first surfaced on “Facebook,” the source said.

The roughly two-minute long video depicted the non-native female students dancing to the sounds of a pow-wow while acting drunk and holding liquor bottles.

The six students—all members of the Muskie girls’ hockey team—were kicked off the squad prior to Friday’s regular-season finale in Kenora.

Fort High principal Gord McCabe would not confirm Tuesday morning that the girls also have been suspended from school, saying only that they had been “disciplined.”

Jack McMaster, director of education for the Rainy River District School Board, said he met with two groups Tuesday morning and that they were working to resolve the situation after at least four First Nations bands pulled their students from the high school on Friday.

It’s believed most First Nations students returned to classes Tuesday.

In the meantime, the OPP would like to remind young people and their families of the need to understand the reach of technology.

Creating a video and uploading it to an Internet forum can have many consequences, police said in a press release issued Friday afternoon. And once a video or picture is on the Internet, it is virtually impossible to get it back.

Young people also need to understand their actions have consequences and that in particular cases, certain behaviours are inappropriate and can be very hurtful to others, police added.

Police said they will continue to monitor the situation and work with school officials to address any concerns.

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9 Comments

  1. kelly says:

    the girls suspended for onr day really made a differance, the girls wrote a 2 minute apology, and went out partying. boy did they learn their lesson. they will be allowed after a one year back on the team. these girls do not understand what they did. Our school did nothing to them Taylor Meyers got suspended for 5 days and the rest just got kicked off the team. Their Apology meant nothing to the Aboriginal people in our school. It sounded like they were going to laugh. Like they did not mean it at all.There was more then just that one video with kristen penner stating that “indians were born in caravans”. they have not earned their lesson. They are sorry though, Sorry they got caught.

  2. m. doggett says:

    I am totally disgusted by the video. The girls & thier parents (obviously they were raised this way) need to acknowledg
    their behavior as being unnaceptable. I think they should be kicked out of school not just the hockey team. I only went to school in Fort Frances from grade 7 ( at the Catholic school) too end of high. During my 2 years at the Catholic school I distinctly remember 2 types of Indians. The reserve ones and the “resedential school ones.” What I have pondered over the years. ( I was there in 1964) was how sorry I felt for the resedential girls, who obviously had to have their hair constantly curled by permanents, to what is obvious to me now , errase their nativeness. I remember very shy individuals having to wear uniforms which were totally ugly as well as old fashioned. These people were discriminated not only by the whites, but also by their brothers & sisters from the reserve. Racism should not be tolerated in any matter by anyone. Better education in the schools regarding this must be addressed, but show these girls who made the video they will be made an example of. Sincerely Marg Doggett

  3. Why? says:

    Hmmm, I believe this whole thing is blown way out of proportion. I mean, Kicked off the Team? Suspended? How is this video anyway school related? They should be punished in a different way, away that will make them learn. Gurantee the girls dont care about being kicked off the team due to the season ending soon, and suspension from school? no one likes school. I do not believe the pow wow dance was racist one bit, but when they began to stereo type aboriginals about how they talk and by drinking, that is racist. Overall, their punishments were useless and don’t make scence seeing as its not school related, and this whole video issue is blown completely out of proportion.

    ps. -Posting the video on facebook was a bad idea.
    -Making the video in the first place was a bad idea.
    -Making stereo types about races is a bad idea.

  4. Crazy says:

    This vid thing is gay. who cares what they do, if we saw a video of a bunch of aboriginals dancing like white ppl (i dont know how they dance, but we do) we would laugh, i see its different because pow wows and the dancing is a religous thing of ancestors, and i respect that. But mabey these girls are interested in the aboriginal ways and history? if i was to act out a pow wow with my friends would it be racist? No. Im actually very interested in the history of the aboriginals and how pow wows are spiritual. I find this interesting, “A modern pow-wow is a specific type of event where Native American and/or non-Native American people meet to dance, sing, socialize, and honor American Indian culture.” That’s all I have to say.

    (like commenter “Why?”)

    Ps – Iv’e bin to an actual Pow Wow before with my native friends, and damn, thats the most amazing thing ive ever seen, all the hand made suits, and the sweet grass, just an amazing expierience.

  5. Ms. Fisher-Nadeau says:

    Today, I went back 50 years; it was disheartening and traumatic in a sense to see that this is still going on to that extent. The flashbacks of taunting and name-calling were again fresh in my mind. I manage as does others who have been taunted in this way. Although this terrible event is inexcusable it has enlightened me to the fact that intergenerational residue prevails, not only with Aboriginal people but also with the non-Aboriginal population. The fact is that there is a big responsibility for these teens’ parents also. They are the mirrors of their children and need to be respectful and make that move toward giving the guidance these children obviously are not getting. I hope they too give a letter of apology, for the sake of their children and their children’s, children.

  6. k Thacker says:

    Re Video

    Im sorry I watched that , but I had to see what all the fuss was about . I was appalled ! I have been to many gatherings and the music and feeling is powerful . This is an ancient religious and cultural tradition, I can see how you were disturbed by this , I certainly was .

    I have no comment on punishment or blame , but I think racism requires dialogue from both sides and i think we need to start talking. It is so sad to me to see how little we understand of one another , sincerely, K Thacker MD

  7. Spider Writer says:

    I have a 1st Nations Daughter at the Fort Frances High School, and I am concerned about the racism occuring there. More should be done in terms of Community Awareness of what Aboriginal Culture is! Only Aboriginal People can teach this, as it provides a realistic understanding. Not only students, but parents must learn this! That is the purpose of why I suggest Cultural Awareness in The Community. “We parent as we have been Parented.” This vicious cycle of racism must stop.

    Furthermore, the Fort Frances School Board is responsible for teaching all students about racism, it’s impacts and it’s consequences! Obviously this is not apart of their curriculum and these are the end results. Therefore the Rainy River Board of Education must seriously consider teaching proper race relations amongst their students.

  8. dave novak says:

    i just read some of the comments about this incident…i
    am really disappointed at officials and people who are supposed to be our leaders and role models….we need to be educating our youth to have respect for all race. that they did not think they were doing wrong is no excuse….
    they should have consulted a native/ 1st nations person
    prior to posting this on a web site….this is one more example of the segrigation in our society today….we all
    need to unite in our struggles and reinforce/embrace the traditional customs of other nationalities…..the sad thing i believe today is that the natives of the U.S and the 1st Nations people are still trying to practice their traditions in spite of critisism from
    people who claim no ethinic background…..we need to
    think before we act out what we think is honorable traditional customs/ceremonys…….this is where a little knowledge can be dangerous….dave novak…
    czech american.

  9. Karrie McCormick says:

    When I heard about this from a friend that still lives there I could not believe it . But I watched it on youtube.
    I left there many of years ago , I do not remember the racism being that bad, i had many friends with Native background as well myself being Metis.
    I now live in Southern Alberta with plenty of Blood around, and I’ll tell you if I ever heard or seen my kids react this way they would have their butts kicked unbelievably. As well our schools here would not give those girls what they got.
    I believe that here in Alberta they would not be a part of any school team again, and be lucky to be in school . Definetely would not be a one day suspension. I guess its a good thing we have a zero tolerance for bullying and racism
    My 16 year-old daughter just said “they think they are cool but they are not. They are LOSERS”: