Multicultural Association and Arts Council Condemn Racist Remarks
Wood Buffalo agencies in solidarity with targeted Indigenous communities
The Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo (MCA) and Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) express solidarity with Indigenous communities across the region in condemning racist comments at a recent meeting of Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo City Council.
ACWB and MCA are saddened and horrified by racist anti-Indigenous remarks made during the municipality’s public budget meeting as Councillor Dogar M. Shafiq responded to Councillor Kendrick Cardinal’s motion to fund prevention initiatives for Murdered, Missing and Exploited Indigenous Peoples.
“It is particularly upsetting that this occurred on Treaty 8 land at an official meeting that started with a land acknowledgement,” said MCA’s Vice President Robert Cree, an Indigenous Elder and residential school survivor. “Especially given the recent tragic loss of several Indigenous women in our community who were victims of violence.”
“Our region clearly needs more education,” said Elder Cree. “I ask that the people of Wood Buffalo read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls To Action and think about how they can move each one forward.”
“Hate speech will continue to defile the healing relationships in our community if it is not confronted,” said Jes Croucher, member of Fort McMurray 468 First Nation and ACWB Board Director. “Allyship through reconciliation asks you to walk with Indigenous peoples on the quest for truth. It means listening to Indigenous voices, amplifying Indigenous voices, supporting Indigenous-run initiatives, and standing up for us – even when we are not in the room.”
“It is the responsibility of the Mayor and each Council Member present to immediately deal with racist and derogatory behaviours when they occur,” said Sara Loutitt, generational member of McMurray Métis and ACWB Board Director, “because ‘silence is compliance’ and adds another layer of injustice to the incident.”
MCA’s response reflects its commitment to Truth and Reconciliation Call To Action No. 93, to work in collaboration with Indigenous organizations to ensure information available for Newcomers to Canada reflects an inclusive history of the diverse Indigenous peoples of Canada. ACWB is committed to reflecting Call To Action 83, which calls for a national strategy for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process.
ACWB is a non-profit society and charitable organization that supports the growth and success of the arts in Wood Buffalo. ACWB was established to raise the profile of the arts in our region and to provide support to all facets of the arts community.