Post-Boushie racism causing grief, anger and job loss - APTN NewsAPTN News

Post-Boushie racism causing grief, anger and job loss

Kathleen Martens
A Saskatchewan restaurant worker has been fired for posting hateful comments about Colten Boushie online.

“Boston Pizza Meadow Lake does not condone nor share the viewpoints of this former employee in any way,” the company said on Facebook Saturday.

“We are offended by this hatred, and value our employees and community.”

A second national company has also distanced itself from racism being spewed online.

“We are shocked by the comment posted by someone posing as an employee of Lilydale,” said Daniele Dufour of Sofina Foods Inc.

“We quickly reached out to Facebook to investigate this and have received confirmation from Facebook that the account created to post the comment was fake and has been since closed by Facebook.”

The comment threatening violence was sent to friends and family members of Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree youth that was fatally shot on the Gerald Stanley farm near Biggar, Sask., in Aug. 2016.

Stanley, who is not Indigenous, was charged with second-degree murder and found not guilty in a jury trial that concluded last Friday.

The acquittal seemed to inflame racist tensions in the Prairie province and across Canada.

“Naming racism for what it is in this country is essential to any potential there is in moving forward collectively,” said Ryan McMahon, an Indigenous comedian and broadcaster who noticed a spike in offensive and threatening comments throughout the weekend.

“If you’re too afraid to name racism as a fundamental piece to Canadian history then there is no way in hell you are ready to have a conversation about reconciliation or the potential of creating a better future for this country.”

McMahon and other members of the group known unofficially as ‘Native Twitter’ were calling on non-Indigenous allies throughout the weekend to help diffuse the hate.

“As a white settler my hope is that other white people can use the list to identify people who are backing (Stanley),” said Bryan DePuy, who has posted a list on Twitter of donors to Stanley’s GoFundMe page.

“They deserve to be called out so other people in their lives can clearly recognize their racism. I hope that white people who know some of the individual donors will confront them and challenge their views.”

The list has helped people like Kerri Wiebe and Miranda Dyck identify donors and contact their employers to “publicly call out their racism and boycott their businesses.”

“People are tired of nameless and faceless trolls,” said Wiebe of the ‘name and shame’ campaign.

“People have to be held accountable for what they say and who they say it to.”

Dyck said it was “beyond belief” to see a campaign “financially reward” Stanley.

“I wanted to know who these people are and how they could do this,” she said.

Dupuy said their action has struck a nerve.

“Donors are angry to be called out,” he said.

Indigenous rights activist Gerald McIvor was busy throughout the weekend and Monday urging victims to save screen shots of unwanted posts.

“We will organize and give all that evidence to a lawyer or team of lawyers and a national human rights complaint filed against everyone who posted their racism and hatred,” he told APTN News.

“Let us use their colonial rights and freedom protections against them. Do not stoop to their level of violence. Do not respond to threats with more threats. Just tolerate it but save the evidence. We can and will win this if we unite and strategize.”

The RCMP in Saskatchewan wouldn’t comment on the likelihood of that, but McIvor said he noticed an “explosion of racist and hate-filled commentary” since the jury delivered its controversial verdict.

Cree lawyer Janice Makokis was part of a team that presented a comprehensive report about racism against Indigenous peoples in the media here in Canada to the United Nations.

She kept an eye on the trial and was “not surprised” by the racist reaction.

“As someone who has been involved in organizing through the Idle No More network…you get to know the institutional structures and how they operate to promote and maintain this image of Indigenous people,” she said in a telephone interview Monday.

That negative, often stereotypical, image is usually challenged online but Makokis says it’s new to see economic consequences.

“It makes me feel better as somebody who’s experienced online hate and death threats myself…that employers are looking at hateful comments or messaging,” she said.

She said it can be tough to shut down racism online because popular social media sites are usually headquartered outside Canada making them exempt from hate and privacy laws.

Complaints have been filed with GoFundMe, an American site raising money for Stanley’s family started by a Saskatchewan group called “Farmers With Firearms.

But spokesperson Rachel Hollis told APTN the campaign “does not violate” the company’s terms of service and will remain up.

There is also a GoFundMe site raising money for the Boushie family.

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15 Responses to “Post-Boushie racism causing grief, anger and job loss”

    Pat Martin February 14, 2018 at 12:26 am #

    Racism is not one-sided. It is an attitude born from fear and ignorance. We limit it by teaching and modelling behaviour that is loving and open minded. Will racism ever end completely? Who cares! Let’s just all do our best to learn from past mistakes and welcome our children into a new dawn. One that respects and celebrates all life and all cultures and beliefs.

      Becc February 14, 2018 at 9:22 pm #

      Racism is created by marginalizing on group of people to be subordinate to another. 3 % sounds marginalized to me. There fore racism is one sided. Look it up;, and reconcile yourself , we all got to do it on both sides.
      God bless you

    Reynold Durand February 13, 2018 at 11:26 pm #

    I’m not an Indigenous person, but I feel the pain of the Boushie family therefore I stand in solidarity with you against the injustice and racism that’s in Canada. It’s time the government of Canada speak out against the injustice and racism that’s in the country. Enough is enough. Time should not delay correcting the wrongs of injustice, the Indigenous people has suffer too long, it’s time the Prime Minister and the law of the land bring reprove to the police force. Canada cannot live under such gross stigma. We have been known as one of the greatest country of the world, let us walk the talk, time to act.

    kenekuk February 13, 2018 at 6:15 pm #

    It’s time racism against Our People is called out, period- at all levels. Changes need to be made, now. It is long past time that all of Canada acknowledge its history and the conditions that now exist in contemporary society. And I am not talking about some self- serving pat ourselves on the back because the government funded the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for five years. These Go Fund Me campaigns are symptomatic of how deep it runs. Contrary to Mallory, we also have to address gaslighting by the mainstream media- CBC “Was the Not guilty verdict racially motivated”? This was an actual topic on one of their talk shows!”. Folks, its self- evident.

    It is going to take decades to heal and rectify the transgenerational and institutional racism that exists. It may never be completely eradicated within individual settlers. But what we must do is focus on the colonial institutions that currently uphold white supremacy- i.e. the legal system, the prison system, the health care system, the education system. That’s what the reaction to the outrage expressed at Colten’s killing and Standley’s acquittal represents, the desperation of the white supremacists to hold on to institutional privilege and the right to be criminally liable for the deaths of Our People without consequence.

    We must also call out those who would hide behind the – don’t politicize the legal system- as if it is not already political!! Because many settler people deny the reality that Canada was founded on a genocide and racism- things that are as Canadian as maple syrup and hockey- and more importantly the grinding poverty that is the legacy of our collective pasts. We must confront the root causes now and make a better future for all of our children- and their grandchildren, and their grandchildren, and theirs- those that we will never meet are those that will live out the legacy of what we choose here, now.

      Jon February 16, 2018 at 11:35 am #

      There is a simple reason for all the FN people living in poverty.

      you only need to look at the Band Office to find it.

    Mallory February 13, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

    Just because someone feels empathy for Gerald’s family does not make them racist. That is a horrible comparison! THAT is why people are staying anonymous while donating money.

    Moi February 13, 2018 at 11:20 am #

    Just goes to show you how much hatred still exists post residential school… Shameful is what it is and ignorant towards our indigenous peoples!

    Theda February 13, 2018 at 4:57 am #

    Finally peaple are taking action, a young man had to die for this to happen. I pray his death was not in vain! Prayers & Blessings filled with love for the Boushie family.

    Félix February 13, 2018 at 3:49 am #

    Racism will never end, there is no discontinuation of it in sight in any time for as long as humanity thrives. Multicultural societies are the only places in this world where racism flourishes. For as long as we have leaders like Trump and Manitoba’s MP condoning such acts of racism, and the multicultural camaraderies continue to grow, it will only get worse.

    Tsionak"tiio February 13, 2018 at 2:58 am #

    let the Farmers for Firearms pay Gerald Stanley legal bills, not have a Go Fund Me page, it’s disgusting to give money to a killer, cause that’s what he is, KILLER…..

      Mark February 16, 2018 at 6:54 am #

      If he had accidentally run over him with a car would you still think he was a killer? It was an accidental discharge from a 64 year old cartridge that was stored in a place with fluctuating temperatures which can cause the chemicals inside to break down that was behind this. Hang fires are more common than you may think. If Mr. Stanley was a killer, why did he not gun them all down? How did he even know they were aboriginal? Everyone in Canada is considered innocent until proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are guilty. That was impossible in this situation. Of course there is sympathy for the family of Mr. Boushie. It is a terrible thing to lose a child. However, this is no excuse to act like a lynch mob bent on revenge and retribution. Our courts have been fine honed over the centuries and many people have unjustly been convicted in the kangaroo court of public opinion. The courts do the best they can at determining guilt and innocent. Speculation and theory does not count. Many black people and aboriginal people and white people have been killed over the centuries for example by people who did not get a fair trial. Just because you do not like the verdict does not make it wrong. We all have to learn to try and find what it is that unites us, not that which divides us. If we do not learn this lesson all is lost. This is a tragedy but not a premeditated murder. It was a terrible accident.

    Ben February 13, 2018 at 12:37 am #

    The governments of both countries canada and usa started racism against indigenous people they should pay to undo it….

      Mallory February 13, 2018 at 2:35 pm #

       What do you think it does when news reports state “aboriginal man shot by white farmer”?!  It causes defensiveness from white people AND farmers.  And what is wrong with sympathy for the Stanley family? They did not ask for what happened.  They have suffered too.  Why are the families of the 5 people that came onto his farm, causing mayhem, not taking ANY responsibility for what transpired?? And calling all white people racist?  You think there are no racist aboriginals?? I grew up with aboriginals and I saw it.  They disliked white people.  And if you were blond with blue eyes, there was even more hatred.  During the Idle no more march, I seen White man go Home signs and much similiar.  How does that help?  Maybe its time aboriginals take some responsibility for their actions and words too instead of blaming the white man for everything.  You will never bridge the gap and make any peace with attitudes and statements like that.

        Noelle February 13, 2018 at 8:52 pm #

        Mallory, with all due respect, your comments do not help either and do not bridge the gap towards peace. Your judgmental comments only fuel the fire of racism.

        Ang February 16, 2018 at 5:05 am #

        This makes me laugh..cause clearly it makes no sense or point your just spewing words from your mouth! Make a point, will you!