Former First Nations leader steps in to help Woodstock after ‘faux pas’
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/10/2022 (222 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A former First Nations chief has signed up to help mayoral candidate Don Woodstock deliver his latest campaign pledge, arguing the candidate’s widely criticized comments about Indigenous men have been misunderstood.
“(It was) a faux pas. There’s no malice intended. I mean, I read the comments, too, I didn’t take them that way. (Woodstock) has graciously apologized,” said Peter Yellowquill, former chief of Long Plain First Nation.
In September, some Indigenous leaders condemned remarks Woodstock made at a forum on women’s safety, where he suggested First Nations men need to “come to the table” to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Many believed he was suggesting Indigenous men are often perpetrators of violence against Indigenous women.
In interviews with the Free Press after the event, Woodstock stood by his comments and said they had been misinterpreted. Yellowquill said he believes the candidate has since explained he was referring to crime statistics, not general ideas about an entire community.
“The truth can hurt, it can be ugly. But if we don’t deal with that truth, then it will get uglier,” he said, adding some Indigenous leaders should apologize to Woodstock for what “felt like a personal attack on him.”
Woodstock said he has apologized that his comments were interpreted as a comment on all Indigenous men.
“And so, the apology came where I said, ‘If it seemed as if that was my intention, it was not.’ I was merely repeating the stats,” he said Tuesday.
The matter was discussed after a Tuesday press conference to announce a “roundtable committee” on homelessness, addiction and crime that Woodstock and Yellowquill would co-chair if Woodstock is elected. It would include 28 Indigenous members, hold monthly public meetings at city hall and create an action plan within three months.
Woodstock said education and new resources tailored to Indigenous youth and men would likely be created.
“We will meet… to ensure that the Indigenous and other youths and men have resources that have been never offered to them before. A plan will be developed in consultation with Indigenous leaders to help bring mentorship, life skills, trade skills directly for the men,” he said.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak issued statements denouncing Woodstock’s remarks last month.
AMC deputy grand chief Cornell McLean said he was especially appalled by the fact these “racist and stereotypical” statements were made by someone who wants to lead Winnipeg.
Neither organization could be reached for comment Tuesday.
Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Glen Murray plans to support the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ bid to host a Grey Cup championship in 2024 or 2025, if he’s successful at the ballot box next week.
Murray estimated that hosting the Canadian Football League’s championship game would create $90 million of economic spinoffs for the city.
He also plans to revive Get Together Downtown events, which he described as a weekend of street concerts, dancing and celebrations in early summer to help launch each new Bombers’ season.
“Get Together Downtown brought an estimated 100,000 people together…. Reviving the event will reintroduce Winnipeggers to fun and exciting new businesses, architecture, and venues that have popped up in the city centre,” Murray said in a press release.
Elsewhere on the mayoral campaign trail, Rick Shone made pledges to clean up the city.
Shone’s promises include adding250 more large-volume garbage and recycling bins; increasing the year-round frequency of public garbage-bin pickup in heavy-use areas; increasing bylaw enforcement related to waste management; buying two electric street cleaners to clear sidewalks and bike lanes throughout the summer; ordering city staff to produce a plan to improve waste pickup; and setting aside $2 million to support the street cleanup and beautification efforts of Business Improvement Zones.
Advance voting is underway to select Winnipeg’s next city council. Election day is Oct. 26.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.