A local Indigenous group says recent comments from a controversial senator show racism and discrimination are still issues in Canada.
The mayors of Edmonton and Winnipeg joined together this week to call on Sen. Lynn Beyak to resign after she wrote on her website that Indigenous people should trade status cards for citizenship.
Indigenous people born in Canada are already Canadian citizens.
The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) is an organization that seeks to defend and enhance the Indigenous and treaty rights of its seven-member First Nations: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks.
AIAI Grand Chief Joel Abram doubts that Beyak would resign because she’d lose her public platform.
“That’s the best case scenario but I think that’s highly doubtful. I think it’s more exasperating than anything that she gets so much media attention,” said Abram.
“Everyone knows she’s a racist and she’s pretty ignorant of the issues and she’s not going to change. She’s declined comment, interviews, anything of the sort. She just makes these outrageous statements and gets a lot of press for them.”
Earlier this year, Beyak made headlines after doubling down over comments that the residential school system — widely criticized as a hotbed of abuse and mistreatment — was not all bad.
She was removed from the Senate’s Aboriginal Peoples Committee as a result.