Canada | Opinion

Opinion: 'Joke' shows racism against Native people persists

"Just when we thought society had moved beyond this ugly stuff comes word of what was meant to be a joke in a newsletter published by a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Cranbrook, B.C.

The joke dealt with the arrests of hunters who had killed aboriginal men. The punchline was about the hunters being arrested because they used beer for bait.

When Shirley Green, a Legion member who is part Ktunaxa and part Cree, complained about it, the joke was taken out and a bizarre explanation published instead, stating that one person had taken offence at it, but the joke had been considered good for a laugh. No apology was forthcoming. In fact, Legion branch president Edith LeClair complained to reporters: "Obviously, people can't take a joke."

Oh, it's a side-splitter all right. This "joke" has slurred the memory of the brave deeds performed by aboriginal soldiers in fighting for this nation - many of which cost them their lives. To use one of the Legion's own favourite phrases, lest we forget:"

Get the Story:
Naomi Lakritz: :B.C. Legion 'joke' a sickening slur (The Edmonton Journal 8/20)

Also Today:
Cranbrook Legion member who wrote racist 'joke' dismissed (CBC 8/17)
Cranbrook Legion in hot water over joke (The Kimberley Daily Bulletin 8/19)

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