Letter: Much to mend between aboriginal and non-native cultures

To improve the relationship between aboriginal people and non-natives, attitudes need to change.

To the editor:

I spent 50 years in the newspaper business as a reporter, editor, and publisher at weeklies and dailies in all four western provinces.

Throughout my career I witnessed up close the disconnect between aboriginal people and the non-native society.

Becoming familiar with aboriginal history, culture and traditions will surely go a long way in helping to bridge the disconnect.

There has been mistrust, anger, suspicion, frustration and fear from both sides toward the other. Positive steps are being taken to narrow the gap but much more needs to be done.

For too long the aboriginal community has been stereotyped by negative stories carried in newspapers, TV, and social media. The stories often focus on protests, confrontations, alcohol and drug abuse, financial scandals, fires, gun violence, murders, thefts, assaults and missing persons on First Nations’ reserves.

Other disturbing stories include poverty, unemployment, poor drinking water, dilapidated housing, terrible roads, lack of educational opportunities, truancy, child runaways, etc.

But it hasn’t all been negative. There are many aboriginal success stories. Among them pow wows, rodeo cowboys, accomplished athletes, entrepreneurs, business ventures, artists, lawyers, judges, journalists, musicians, craft makers, politicians, etc.

To improve the relationship between aboriginal people and non-natives, attitudes need to change.

Perry Bellgarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, called in June 2015 for people to “make room in your hearts and minds and your spirits. Rid yourself of those racial stereotypes of Indians and indigenous people being dumb and lazy and drunk on welfare. Rid yourself of those things, so new things can come in.”

Chief Bellegarde made the statement in response to the final report and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The challenge is ours to take.

Clay Stacey, Kelowna


Just Posted

Need to catch up on news? You’re covered

Every Saturday the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

Big White board school among best

Director of snow sports, Josh Foster, is one of the top instructors in Canada

Seniors prefer funeral to lifestyle planning

Survey finds 73% of seniors have a will, only 13% have long-term care plan

Okanagan College business students soar

Medal winners at Western Canadian Business Competition

UBCO civil engineer touts cohousing option

Gord Lovegrove says cohousing is sustainable social and economic lifestyle

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

UPDATED: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

Most Read