As an Indigenous child growing up in the 1960s I experienced racism first hand, especially when I started going to a public school in Midland, Ontario. Name calling directed at me by non-native classmates such as dirty savage, wagon burner, scalper, rapist, mongrel, devil worshiper, pagan and heathen are just some of the names etched in my mind from fifty plus years ago. Needless to say, I was not only hurt but shocked by those derogatory terms. They were all totally alien to me. I remember thinking that the parents of these students must be very racist. Forgiven but not forgotten, I would have hoped that those students of that time would have learned that racism has no place in a multi-national country such as Canada. Sadly, white superiority has held its ground for many. In short, even in 2017 racism is alive and well. Lest it be thought that I have misgivings and adversity towards my non-scone brothers and sisters from other mothers (Non-Native), such is not the case, I have come to know many non-Native people of all walks of life who have taken the time learn about the plight and struggles of the Indigenous people, and as a result support us in seeking moral justice, especially racial intolerance. Racism in Canada? Don’t take my word for it. There is a collective denial by most of the Canadian public that there little or no racism in the country. Ask the average person on the street. Better still ask an Indigenous person if he or she has ever experienced racism or discrimination. Chances are it may have happened, either subtly or outright. An example would be first come, but last served in a restaurant. Only after hearing or reading such testimony, you will be more inclined to believe and recognize that racism is everywhere, not only towards Aboriginal peoples but also other minorities! We don’t have an Indigenous problem; we don’t have a black problem; we don’t have an Asian problem, we have a white problem.Racism begins at home. If the parents or grandparents are intolerant of other races, the children may follow that negative attitude. Outside the home, the education system is a little more subtle, in that it only teaches about the accomplishments of the white race; accomplishments for people of color are trivialized or simply disregarded. Promotions, in businesses, police services and military are very rarely made. Racism can also be found within the judicial system, for examples, policing, courts, defense attorneys, crown attorneys, judges, jury selection, provincial (i.e. former Ontario Premier Mike Harris) and federal governments, (i.e. former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and more recently U.S.A. President Donald Trump), hospitals, entertainment companies, restaurants, clubs, universities, colleges, high schools, public schools, employment agencies, child care agencies, health care agencies, and corporations, to name but a few examples of systemic and outright racism. Regarding racism within the Canadian judicial system Robynne Susan Neugebauer's CRIMINAL INJUSTICE - Racism in the Criminal Justice System ( Canadian Scholars' Press, Jan 1, 2000 - Social Science - 374 pages) is an excellent source to find out much racism there is in the Canadian judicial system. The book "examines racism within the process of criminal justice.The contributors to this anthology argue that the differential treatment of people of colour and First Nations peoples is due to systemic racism within all levels of the criminal justice system, which serves these dominant classes." "Ideological and cultural changes are preconditions for the success of anti-racist policies and practices within the criminal justice system and within other state institutions. Recommendations for transformations in justice policy and practice are provided. Robynne Neugebauer is Assistant Professor in Sociology at York University. Her research and teaching focus on criminology, policing, inequality in criminal justice, and wife assault. It is only through open discussions about racism and collective actions by both the victim and victimizer that racism can be learned and reduced. Racism will never be eliminated. I am hoping to be one of the speakers at an Anti-racism conference at the University of Toronto sometime this spring. My focus will be on how we, in the spirit of brother-hood and sister-hood, can all help to make anti-racism work. I will keep you posted.
It has been almost 3 years since the last print issue of "The Native Press". Since then, no other organization, or company has attempted to publish an independent, indigenous-owned newspaper that Northerners can truly call their own. I have to admit, I was initially resistant to the idea. After all, if the newspaper couldn't make a go of it then, why would it now? My answer? Maybe it can't, but at least we should make the effort. It was my dad, Roy Dahl, who reminded me that: Nothing that was ever truly worth doing was ever easy. So, it is with a lot of faith, some hard work and a few good contributors, that we return to the industry he once used to call home - print journalism. Growing up, I really enjoyed listening to his stories and about his travels while a reporter for such news organizations as "The Native Press", CBC, APTN. and more recently, CKLB-FM. His career showed me there are a lot of stories out there that still need to be told. Maybe one day we can tell yours. So it is with a hopeful heart that my dad and I embark upon this great adventure. While it may be filled with hazards normally associated with operating a small business, we are optimistic we will be able to meet those challenges and succeed. To do so, we will need the support of a single person - YOU. Buy advertising. Read the newspaper. Make editorial and photographic contributions. Don't be afraid to send us your perspectives of events and people that shape those events. Without your active participation, this newspaper may succumb to the perils of an industry that is ever-changing. We look forward to the challenge.In the coming weeks and months, you will see improvements to both the print and online versions of the newspaper. You will read news stories and features that highlight our triumphs, and failures. You will read about those who are changing the world in ways they've never dreamed of. And, you'll read about the life stories of the elders, as well as the young. Items from social movements will be included to gain a more balanced perspective of the world. And, in time, more editorial content will be published in one or more of the Northwest Territories' 9 official languages. Yes, we have an ambitious agenda ahead of us. I once saw a great comment posted on the back page of an archived copy of "The Native Press": "Give us the tools, and we'll get the job done." Let's get to work. - ZD