B.C. Legion ‘joke’ a sickening slur

* Note: No matter how much we try to "fit in" with the people who occupy our lands, no matter how hard we fight for the governments built on our oppression, we will always be seen as animals in their eyes. WAKE UP.
Just when we thought society had moved beyond this ugly stuff comes word of what was meant to be a joke in a newsletter published by a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Cranbrook, B.C.

The joke dealt with the arrests of hunters who had killed aboriginal men. The punchline was about the hunters being arrested because they used beer for bait.

When Shirley Green, a Legion member who is part Ktunaxa and part Cree, complained about it, the joke was taken out and a bizarre explanation published instead, stating that one person had taken offence at it, but the joke had been considered good for a laugh. No apology was forthcoming. In fact, Legion branch president Edith LeClair complained to reporters: “Obviously, people can’t take a joke.”

Oh, it’s a side-splitter all right. This “joke” has slurred the memory of the brave deeds performed by aboriginal soldiers in fighting for this nation – many of which cost them their lives. To use one of the Legion’s own favourite phrases, lest we forget:

There was Francis Pegahmagabow, an Ojibwa from Ontario, who saw service at Ypres, the Somme, Passchendaele and Amiens in the First World War. According to the Department of National Defence’s directory of history and heritage (DHH), Pegahmagabow was “credited with 378 kills, his record was among the most impressive of any Allied sniper on the Western Front. Among his many awards for bravery were the Military Medal and two Bars for his services – he was one of only 39 members of the CEF to achieve that distinction.”

National Defence reports that some 300 status Indians gave their lives during the First World War. Among them was Lt. James Moses of Ontario’s Grand River reserve, whose plane was downed by antiaircraft fire, and who wrote to his family just a few weeks before his death: “We bombed the German troops from a very low height and had the pleasure of shooting hundreds of rounds into dense masses of them with my machine gun. They simply scattered and tumbled in all directions. Needless to say we got it pretty hot and when we got back to the aerodrome found that our machine was pretty well shot up.”

Then, there was the celebrated Delaronde family from Ontario’s Nipigon re-serve: Joseph, a private, was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in action. Denis, later killed in action, was the first of his battalion to go into enemy trenches. Alexander, sent home and discharged after being wounded, nonetheless re-enlisted and rejoined the fray at the front lines.

Lest we forget, too, the more than 500 aboriginal members of the 107th Battalion from Winnipeg, who fought at Lens, the 17 soldiers who enlisted from Alberta’s Blood reserve, and the 20 from the Peguis band in southern Manitoba, and of whose ranks 11 were killed.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: B.C. Legion ‘joke’ a sickening slur.

About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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