Posted on Jul 2, 2020
BLACKFOOT CONFEDERACY JOINS WIDESPREAD CALLS FOR KENNEY TO FIRE HIS RACIST SPEECHWRITER
EDMONTON -- The Blackfoot Confederacy is calling on Premier Jason Kenney to fire his racist speechwriter, Paul Bunner, in response to a series of deeply racist articles he wrote smearing indigenous people and claiming that residential school survivors are lying about a “bogus genocide story” for financial gain.
“Many within our Confederacy and nationally suffered directly and indirectly from the residential school experience and unfortunately many survivors continue to be negatively impacted by this systemic attempt of the federal government to do away with our way of life,” said Chief Roy Fox of the Blood Tribe/Kainai First Nation in a statement today. “The Alberta government should ensure that their actions reflect the true intent of their words and agreements with us. We call upon the province to make the right decision and dismiss this person.”
“This isn’t a ‘bogus’ story as stated by Bunner and he needs to be dismissed,” said Chief Ouray Crowfoot of the Siksika Nation.
“Bunner’s views on residential schools are offensive, dehumanizing and have hurt our Treaty relationship,” said Judge Eugene Creighton, a prominent Blackfoot community member, in the same statement. “These stereotypes of First Nations fuel systemic racism that we’re struggling with right now in Treaty No. 7, Alberta and Canada.”
On June 25, the Confederacy of Treaty Six Chiefs called for Kenney to dismiss Bunner, “following the dehumanizing criticism he displayed in the media referring to Indian Residential Schools.
“In 2020, it is the highest disgrace for any government staff to disparage from one of the greatest tragedies in our history and openly criticize the Indian Residential School Survivors as ‘activists with ‘never ending demands.’”
The same day, Marlene Poitras, Alberta regional chief at the Assembly of First Nations, also called for Kenney to dismiss Bunner.
“I’m appalled and I’m insulted by the article and if Premier Kenney’s government is truly committed to reconciliation and earning the trust of Indigenous people in the community they should be condemning the article instead of making excuses for Mr. Bunner,” Poitras said.
“By refusing to fire Paul Bunner, Jason Kenney is endorsing his racism,” said Shannon Phillips, MLA for Lethbridge-West. “I am appalled that the premier is protecting his high-paid racist speechwriter at the expense of so much harm to indigenous people and communities across Alberta. Kenney must dismiss Bunner and apologize for not doing so immediately.”