Native hero killed over $20 for drugs

Bernard got her compensation just before she was murdered


Native hero killed over $20 for drugs

Nova Scotia native activist Nora Bernard spent decades fighting to get compensation for fellow survivors of Canada’s Indian residential schools. Over the years, the Mi’kmaq elder grew her case into a nationwide class-action lawsuit, culminating with a historic $5-billion settlement and a formal apology from Ottawa. But the money, it turned out, wasn’t enough.

On Dec. 26, 2007, just weeks after her $14,000 compensation cheque arrived, Bernard’s drug-addicted grandson slashed her throat with a kitchen knife when she refused to give him $20. James Douglas Gloade was sentenced last week to serve 15 years for manslaughter. Following the hearing, his sister Danielle told Maclean’s: “My grandmother gave her life for James to get help.”

Danielle doesn’t dispute the sentence given to her brother, calling it a “step in the right direction.” But she fears the cycle of addiction and violence will continue. After her brother suffered sexual abuse as a child, he turned to drugs and crime. By 25, Gloade had amassed 37 convictions, and on the night of the killing, had taken $500 worth of crack cocaine, OxyContin and Valium. But Bernard, who worked as a substance abuse counsellor in the Millbrook First Nation reserve in the 1970s, always extended her hand, Danielle says. “Nanny could always see the good in him when no one else could.”

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Bernard’s family continues to be torn apart. They are divided over who to blame for the killing, and what to do with Bernard’s house, which is just outside the Millbrook reserve. Some say the home should be preserved as her memorial, while others say it should be sold. Danielle says her grandmother would be dismayed by the quarrelling. “She would feel her teachings were going upon deaf ears.”


Native hero killed over $20 for drugs

  1. There are some stories that are so intensely depressing that one must give up looking for a silver lining, after a few attempts. This is one of those stories. Deep sympathies to the family.

    I wonder if Macleans could devote an entire upcoming issue to “good news stories about Canada’s Natives.” Where would one start? How much could one write?

  2. Unfortunately you could write all those “good news” stories on the back of a napkin. Things will never change as long as Canada spends 100 billion a decade(10 billion a year, Indian Affairs budget), to keep one group of “special” people drunk, drugged and dependant seemingly for eternity. Any Indian leader worth his six figure paycheck should tell his people to take advantage of the FREE education up to and including a Phd, any trade, technical training and then get the hell off the reservation and get to work like everyone else. Encouraging people to stay on reserves with zero chance of employment(unless you are one of the chief’s cronies), is insanity. I know Indians who have done just that and have gone on to lead productive lives. Native leadership considers them “sellouts”. You see if everyone went down that path the currupt Indian leadership would be out of a cosy six figure salary(one chief here is paying herself twice what the Prime Minister makes), and would have to get a real job like everyone else. White politicians forking over hard working Canadians tax dollars as “guilt money” has got to stop. Canada can no longer afford this nonsense and it is only fueling the insanity on reserves. My brother worked on a reserve years ago. People don’t know 10% of what goes on there. It was total insanity then and 1000 times worse since. Canada is the biggest enabler on the planet. Time for this to just stop. Now. I fully know this view is not popular with the professional dogooders and I will be denounced as a bigot and worse. Go ahead, take your best shot. But don’t forget, the classic example of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

  3. this is truth ^^^
    nice words Wayne

    my family had the pleasure of raising 4 foster children of —->AMERICAN.>

    but since two went back to the reserve
    they have all but made themsleves poster childs of ‘whats wrong with Americans / Indian Culture’

    one is a baby making machine with no scrupples now…..i think shes single handedly trying to get a small nation going herself

    thank God theres a european grandmother in there doing most of the raising.

    the other 2?…the two that have taken responsible roles in todays society are fine.
    go figure???!!

    go ahead flame away, but remember
    WERE NOT BORN BIGOTS, they are created….i know i have been, by my 2 siblings who have proven who what where and why in society – i cant even laugh, its almost a crying shame

    -hint- dont help them out ok ???? – you drunk indians are the ones proving whats up and whats not

    • It is a crying shame. Even more so as this story and posts have been mysteriously almost ignored here. I figured I would be inundated with diatribes from professional dogooders and their spin doctors denouncing me and demanding my head on a post. I guess they figure the river of money is going to keep flowing no matter what. Perhaps they are all down south now on a cruise and missed the fuss. (I am not making this up. A few years ago some government funded agency in Winnipeg, which was supposed to be helping the Indians, sent the whole office on a Carribian cruise….ya, that’ll help.)

  4. This story is a good example of how one voice is is only being heard and when it comes to the Aboriginals of Canada its only ever been one voice telling the story and that voice belongs to the white people who’ve inflicted the suffering. I am in NO WAY saying that all white Canadians are responsible for the Indian Act (the only racist piece of legislation in the world), the residential schools and other trauma resulting acts. There is more to their story than people know and that story doesn’t get out often. I know I can’t change minds but I think there are more good Aboriginal stories that could fill more than “the back of a napkin” it’s just we’re not told them. We’re told that they are alcoholics, drug addicts, whores, abusers, poor and many more horrible names but when I look at the system Canada has created, it’s Canada that has made them those things. Just try and see Canada through their eyes, through any racialized person’s eyes and you’ll see the difference.
    (Yes, I know that there are very successful racialized people but the majority are not)

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