Indigenous drummers say they faced racist confrontation in Toronto park
A group of Indigenous women say they are “disgusted” after being yelled at for drumming in a Toronto Park.
The incident, which was caught on video Tuesday by members of the ‘Swift Current Singers’, appears to show three men approaching a drumming circle in David Crombie Park on the Esplanade.
“It’s whiny and monotonous as hell,” one man can be heard saying, complaining about the music.
In another video, his frustration escalates and he shouts, “It’s f**king monotonous.”
“You know what is whiny and monotonous as hell? White privilege,” one person responds off camera.
Sara Luey, whose also identifies by her spirit name, Spotted Eagle woman, posted the videos to Facebook after she tells Global News she felt she and the other women, who are from four different First Nations, were targeted because they were indigenous.
“These three racist men come up to us, telling us to stop our ‘religious’ drumming, calling us stupid and dumb,” she said, adding it was around 4:30 in the afternoon.
But when they refused to stop drumming and continued filming the men, she says the confrontation escalated.
WATCH: A group of Indigenous drummers say they were victims of racism after three men confronted them about their drumming
“One guy was standing over me in a very threatening manner,” she explained, “then I suddenly dropped my drum.”
Suddenly the the man kicks it and yells, “You don’t have permission to film me.”
“It’s so disrespectful,” Luey told Global News.
“We just received the file on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. A man standing over a woman trying to threaten her, this incident just speaks to that.”
Global News spoke to one of the men in the video who was upset to see the drummers back in the park Wednesday.
“What the hell are they doing there? Why don’t they go somewhere they aren’t disturbing people,” he told Global News before cursing and slamming the door on our camera.
Still, Swift Current Singer member Maggie says it won’t stop her from coming back.
“I think it is something to say we are allowed to do this type of thing. This is Takaronto…this isn’t Toronto and that is important for people to know,” she said.
The Swift Current Singers, who said the incident has become “bigger than anticipated”, say they don’t plan on contacting the police.
Instead they want to see an “open discussion about equality, diversity and Takaronto (the Iroquois word Toronto originated from, meaning where trees take root in water) as it relates to Indigenous peoples.”
The Swift Current Singers plan to return to David Crombie Park next Tuesday.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.