One Surprising Response

I need to reassure my readers and you Justin, that I’m not advocating any form of formal charges or “punishment”.  I’m asking the average non-native to understand and talk about these issues.  To ask yourself “why” this has happened – not by these girls, but within society as a whole.  I’m hopeful this may lead to understanding and healing.

I’m not sure who this “40+ year-old chief” is?  I’m not a Chief and I’ve got a long way to turning 40.  LOL

However Justin, your response surprised me.  You are certainly in the minority if you aren’t offended by what you seen and by the actions of these girls.  I certainly was offended and quite hurt by this.  Most people I have talked to are equally offended. 

And you are certainly in the minority if you’re saying that you feel this is a “compliment” to you.

Maybe you can ask these girls to sing you a parody of an Honour Song.

—–Original Message—–
From: Justin
To: goubob@anishinabek.ca
Sent: 22/02/08 11:08 AM
Subject: Racism in Fort Frances – YouTube/Facebook Video

This email has been forwarded to many people

———————————————–

RACISM IN FORT FRANCES (For Bob Goulais)

“Trust not in those whose desire to punish is strong” ~Fyodor
Dostoevsky~

Punishment is not the way of the ojibway people. To think such things is
very destructive… and destruction only leads to more destruction which
are not the teachings of our elders.

I’m an aboriginal writer aspiring to be. Although, I’m one of the few
who caught this video before it’s shut down, there is very little
“actually” offensive about it.

These girls were not on traditional pow wow grounds and they have said
nothing offensive to the anishnabe people.  All they did was dance in
their house drunk to pow wow music as though wannabes. Pow wows are
about gathering and having fun (along with other things) which is what
these girls were doing.

If anything, it’s like a parody… and a parody is a form of compliment.
The only insults are the ones who “take it personally” and do not speak
for the people as a whole.

For a 40+ year old chief to advocate charges against teens over a
mindless video can be seen as irrational… and I will not stand beside
a person, even an ojibway person, who is willing to cause “disharmony”
onto someone else.

~ Justin Achneepineskum

email

7 Comments

  1. giant one says:

    Justin

    “Punishment is not the way of the Ojibwa people” What is banishment then? From my perspective the net effect is that it fills the John Howard Society and Salvation Army with banished people in cities that have some social support yet the troubled people are left in an alien ‘concentration’ camp. I am among these punished people every day. They beg and I have asked them where they come from. How did they get this way….
    From my perspective some Band members have much wealth and others live in shacks discriminated much like that which occurs among people everywhere else.
    I am happy that you have described this video as a parody and find it helpful that you see it as a compliment. I have not seen it myself but have experienced and seen many times what young people can do when angry. This perspective of yours is what removes the knee jerk reaction from anger and replaces it with peace. You are indeed wise

  2. Bob Goulais says:

    Your closeted, anti-native sentiment is evident once again, Sir. Your contemporary sterotypes are laced throughour your few words.

    – We banish people as punishment.
    – We are troubled.
    – We are forced to beg.
    – This poverty is caused by First Nations’ discrimination of our own people.
    – We’re angry.

    Yesterday, you challenged treaty and aboriginal rights.

    We get it. It’s just your opinion. No harm, no foul, right? You’ll be able to skillfully, calmly and level-headedly counter every argument, supposition and fact I would pose to you.

    Your polite, politically-correct attitude is an example of still another problem. Most people take your words at face-value. Your rhetoric is almost believable. You may even be electable. But what’s harboured behind these words are the same reason that these girls did what they did.

    When will you see what racism and discrimination really is? When are you going to turn that looking glass onto yourself and ask: why do I feel this way?

    It’s ironic you mention concentration camp in your analogy… because there was once this man who, early in life, had a similar skill with his words. Many people believed him and followed him. Later he would speak about a dominant race, and lesser human beings…

  3. giant one says:

    David Ahenakew

  4. Bob Goulais says:

    Now why did I know that you were going to guess David Ahenakew? Very clever.

    In your two word response, you glaze over the fact I was referring to Adolf Hitler and the holocaust, the greatest tragedy of human kind, and cast blame onto First Nations people while raising the ire of those of you who have similar beliefs.

    Those of us who are experts in the field of racism and discrimination, have conducted studies and research and have been published on the subject, who have given expert testimony to the United Nations on the matter, and have developed a number of anti-racism programs, understand FULLY why you are a part of the problem. That is indeed my professional opinion.

    No, Mr. Ahenakew has not created any concentration camps as far as I know.

  5. Robin Stearns says:

    I am the mother of one of the “racist” girls in the video. I have many times started to post something here but have stopped short of clicking on the submit button but I find that I have no choice but to post my views. I was sickened and shocked when I found your website. Posting a team picture and circling each girls’ face that was in the video and saying such horrendous things about them and their future was a far worse “crime” than what our sixteen year old daughter did. What you did took much thought and planning. What these girls did obviously took no thought or planning. You, the adult here, I have to wonder what you were thinking. I am saddened when I look at your beautiful family and see you sitting there holding your children. I am appalled when I see the position you hold within your culture and realize the true hatred you hold within you. Posting such horrible comments along with the team picture and targeting my daughter on the same page as a birthday celebration of one of your children, I can only imagine what must go on inside your head.

    I won’t say much about the video as it has already been beaten to death and what ever I say will only be misconstrued by those with a higher agenda. I realize now as a parent that I have failed in providing or encouraging my child to learn more about the aboriginal culture. We have many aboriginal friends that we respect and that my daughter looks up to. Instead of promoting hatred now we ALL must take some responsibility to make sure something good can come out of something so wrong.

    This past week our parents and daughters have worked extremely hard to try and start the healing process. We have met with the most wonderful people in the aboriginal community and I am so thankful that there are people within the aboriginal community that can see this video for what is was. We have held a healing circle and learned more about your cultures and the significance of the pow wow. We have listened to aboriginal students who have been hurt and we have listened to the elders who promote forgiveness and deplore punishment. We have not sat back and hoped this would go away or be swept under the carpet. We know that there is more to be done. Now Mr. Goulais, it is up to you to step up to the plate and do the same. Perhaps, you need to revisit the Midewiwin Code for Lifelong Wisdom you so promote on your home page of this website, you too have shamed your people with your actions.

    I trust you will post this in it’s entirety .

    Sincerely,
    Robin Stearns

  6. Bob Goulais says:

    Ms. Hearns:

    I hold absolutely no hatred in my heart. I am indeed Midewiwin, through and through. Being a father and being Midewiwin are the most important parts of my life.

    Yes, I was angry and still am angry over the conduct of your daughter. Yes, I regret posting their names, pictures and my harsh words. It was removed as soon as I seen this apology. I admit that my conduct was disrespectful and you were hurt by it.

    But it shouldn’t be my heart and my parenting you need to be concerned about.

    Perhaps, it is your parenting that should be in question here. Where did they learn these values that made them feel that this was OK? Was that real liquour these underage girls were drinking? Whose home was that? Where were you, Mom?

    Instead of thinking that I should be ashamed, when are you going to feel shame? When does your parenting kick in?

    In the meantime, I’m sure it makes you feel better to blame others.

    I’m pleased you are getting such happy, happy, joy, joy experiences out of this incident. I fully understand that this wasn’t a premeditated incident. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is racism, and it has hurt many people.

    My children are growing up learning the teachings of the Anishinabe people. They are learning from the source of this knowledge, the Midewiwin Lodge. They are growing up without the presence of alcohol and drugs in their lives. They are learning Love and Respect as the pretense of all relationships with other people and the Spirit world around them.

    I’m sad to see that you are unable to provide the same guidance to your child.

  7. Val says:

    This act may not have been premeditated but………… no one can know how to express this much disrespect overnight,a lot of thought went into the making of this video. Children do not know prejudice, prejuidice is a learned behavior ………………

    I do not understand how more first nation peoples are not. offended