ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is expressing grave disappointment in the editorial judgement of the Winnipeg Sun and its parent company Postmedia.
“It’s one thing to produce provocative and controversial content in a news publication,” stated SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “To pen words that incite misunderstanding, falsehoods, and potential hate is quite another. I am deeply disappointed that the Winnipeg Sun would continue to take this route after so much truth has been laid bare recently about the historic and traumatic impacts of residential schools.”
SCO is responding to a published column by Brain Giesbrecht in the Winnipeg Sun dated June 4, 2021. In that opinion piece entitled “Some questions about Kamloops,” Giesbrecht says “it is time to move on” as it pertains to the discovery of the 215 children found in unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
“I cannot believe the audacity of this so-called columnist and the people who pay for him to spew this kind of vitriol,” added Peguis First Nation Chief, Glenn Hudson. “When so many people have and continue to suffer at the hands of the Indian Residential School system, this publication decides to take the route of shock and hate. I can only deduce that this was a desperate attempt to sell papers and online subscriptions.”
SCO notes, this is not the first time the Winnipeg Sun has given Giesbrecht a platform for his anti-Indigenous stance. In April of this year, Giesbrecht called for the removal of income tax exemption for “Status Indians” who are considered wealthy.
“There is no real way to accurately detail how out of touch this individual is when it comes to the colonial history of this land that we now all share,” said Sagkeeng Chief, Derrick Henderson. “The Winnipeg Sun will now suffer the consequences for this egregious choice.”
In solidarity with our other First Nation and Indigenous partners in Manitoba, SCO will no longer have any professional dealings with the Winnipeg Sun unless its editorial board is willing to publicly retract the column in question and issue a formal apology. This includes removing Winnipeg Sun staff from our media list and no longer granting interviews with the publication.
“I want to conclude on a hopeful and potentially reconciliatory note,” added Grand Chief Daniels. “The Winnipeg Sun’s leadership have the chance to switch the narrative and through the power and reach of their medium, to affect real and positive change. I pray they find the wisdom and courage to do just that.”
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 80,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.
For Media Inquiries:
Caitlin Reid, Manager of Communications, Southern Chiefs’ Organization
(204) 557-2399 | Email: Media@scoinc.mb.ca