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

City of West Kelowna releases survey for cannabis store restrictions

October 17 non-medical cannabis sales will be permitted

City of Kelowna hires new consultant

Bill McKinnon fills the void left by the passing of Rob Mayne

Strong smell of ammonia downtown Kelowna

Fire crews attended the Memorial Arena for a strong smell of ammonia

Hedge goes up in smoke in Lake Country

A Lake Country resident burning weeds had flames spread to a nearby hedge

New summer market hits Kelowna

Craft Culture and Manteo Resort will host a summer market this weekend

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Emerica tears up Penticton Youth Park

Pro skateboarders make summer afternoon even hotter

‘Virtual drugstore’ dealer sentenced in the South Okanagan

A Penticton woman was using the casino as a hub to sell drugs and launder money

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

UPDATE: Wildfire near Lake Country grows to seven hectares

The BC Wildfire Service is responding to a blaze at Dee Lake

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

UPDATE: BC crews respond to two new wildfires

Blazes near Allison and Osoyoos Lakes

Motorcycle driver dies in a head-on collision near Oliver

RCMP said the three vehicle collision, near Road 18, happened around 2:45 p.m. on July 14

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

Most Read