The former St. Michael's Indian Residential School in Alert Bay, British Columbia. Photo: Christopher Porter
Canada | Opinion

Terese Mailhot: Go home with your racism and your rinky dink blankets

Native users on Twitter have had it up to here with racist letters being published in The Barrie Examiner, a newspaper in Ontario, Canada. Writer Terese Marie Mailhot (Seabird Island Band) goes to the source of the outrage:
The Barrie Examiner has been publishing numerous racist opinion editorials by Joffre McCleary, and Native Twitter is done with it. McCleary’s bold statements include an editorial about how savage indigenous people were, titled, Europeans Brought an Administrative Structure. He writes, “Our European forefathers introduced woolen blankets, copper kettles and metal implements to the indigenous people they met. No longer would the women of the tribe have to chew pelts to make them supple. … Ask your wife to chew on a hide for a week and see how long your marriage lasts.”

Racism and misogyny and misinformation are fine enough for local papers across Canada, as per my experience as a Native woman. As a child there were often cartoons about “wagon burners” in our newspapers alongside the bias coverage on Native issues, framing our people as homeless, or drunks, or, there were the “compassionate” pieces that patronized us while simultaneously trying to fix our “plight,” the same ones we see online today.

Pieces like these belong in the obituaries as the last few words of rambling dead men. Emotionally dead, spiritually dead, intellectually obsolete—it all feels the same. There’s no point refuting white people who prefer the narrative that indigenous people were savages, because we were here for thousands of years before they came. If they think their rinky dink blankets saved us from anything, their deductive reasoning is on par with their writing: utterly lacking. They should take their blankets and go home, and stop writing.

Read More on the Story:
Terese Mailhot: Take Your Blankets and Go Home, Joffre McCleary (Indian Country Media Network 7/20)