Welcome to Winnipeg: Where Canada’s racism problem is at its worst

How the death of Tina Fontaine has finally forced the city to face its festering race problem.

Photograph by John Woods

Thelma Favel, Tina Fontaine’s aunt, can’t forgive herself for letting Tina go to Winnipeg. (Photographs in this story by John Woods)

“Oh Goddd how long are aboriginal people going to use what happened as a crutch to suck more money out of Canadians?” Winnipeg teacher Brad Badiuk wrote on Facebook last month. “They have contributed NOTHING to the development of Canada. Just standing with their hand out. Get to work, tear the treaties and shut the FK up already. Why am I on the hook for their cultural support?”

Another day in Winnipeg, another hateful screed against the city’s growing indigenous population. This one from a teacher (now on unpaid leave) at Kelvin High School, long considered among the city’s progressive schools—alma mater to just about every Winipegger of note, from Marshall McLuhan to Izzy Asper, Fred Penner and Neil Young.

Badiuk’s comments came to light the day Rinelle Harper—the shy 16-year-old indigenous girl left for dead in the city’s Assiniboine River after a brutal sexual assault—spoke publicly for the first time after her recovery. She called for an inquiry to help explain why so many indigenous girls and women are being murdered in Winnipeg, and elsewhere in Canada.

Badiuk’s comments came while the city was still reeling from the murder of Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old child from the Sagkeeng First Nation who was wrapped in plastic and tossed into the Red River after being sexually exploited in the city’s core.

They came after Nunavummiuq musician Tanya Tagaq, last year’s Polaris Music Prize winner, who complained that while out to lunch in downtown Winnipeg where she was performing with the city’s ballet this fall, “a man started following me calling me a ‘sexy little Indian’ and asking to f–k.”

They came the very week an inquest issued its findings in the death of Brian Sinclair, an indigenous 45-year-old who died from an entirely treatable infection after being ignored for 34 hours in a city ER.

They came in the wake of a civic election dominated by race relations after a racist rant by a frontrunner’s wife went viral: “I’m really tired of getting harassed by the drunken native guys” downtown, Gord Steeves’s wife, Lori, wrote on Facebook. “We all donate enough money to keep their sorry asses on welfare, so shut the f–k up and don’t ask me for another handout!” The former city councillor and long-serving, centrist politician didn’t bother apologizing. He lost, but not because of this.

For decades, the friendly Prairie city has been known for its smiling, lefty premiers, pacifist, Mennonite writers and a love affair with the Jets. Licence plates here bear the tag “Friendly Manitoba.” But events of last fall served to expose a darker reality. The Manitoba capital is deeply divided along ethnic lines. It manifestly does not provide equal opportunity for Aboriginals. And it is quickly becoming known for the subhuman treatment of its First Nations citizens, who suffer daily indignities and appalling violence. Winnipeg is arguably becoming Canada’s most racist city.

But indigenous activists believe Tina Fontaine’s death also marked a turning point in race relations; that, for perhaps the first time, the brutalization and murder of a 15-year-old was not dismissed in Winnipeg as an “Aboriginal problem.” Ironically, from the fall’s horrific events, a sense of unity has begun to emerge. Even Thelma Favel, who raised Tina, believes her niece did not die in vain. Meaningful change will not come easily, but all this holds the promise, however faint, of a more hopeful future for the city.


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Thelma, who never misses the suppertime news, tried to strike fear into the hearts of her nieces, Tina and Sarah Fontaine. She’d show them TV programs on murdered and missing indigenous women, clip newspaper articles. “It’s not safe out there for Aboriginals girls,” she’d caution.

In the end, even she was unable to protect Tina. On Aug. 17, the girl’s remains were pulled from the Red River’s murky waters near the Alexander Docks in downtown Winnipeg. The murder of the 15-year-old was only the most recent, horrifying example of the violence faced by Winnipeg’s indigenous community—a world apart from white Winnipeg. Police divers discovered her by accident: they were searching the Red for the drowned remains of Faron Hall, the Dakota man dubbed the “Homeless Hero” for twice saving Winnipeggers from the river that eventually took his life.


Tina’s body was found in the same spot where, in March 1961, the remains of Jean Mocharski were found—the first cold case from Winnipeg in a new database of murdered and missing Aboriginal women. The 43-year-old mother of seven had been beaten and stabbed. Like Tina’s, her murder remains unsolved. “We value dogs more than we do these women,” says indigenous playwright Ian Ross.

Thelma, an eloquent mother of three, and her husband, Joseph, had been caring for Tina and Sarah since they were three and four, when their father, Eugene, was diagnosed with lymphoma. (Their mother had left the girls as babies.) Eugene had been raising the girls on his own in Winnipeg, where he worked at a tire plant. He knew the girls would be better off with Thelma, his aunt, who had helped raise him.

In a handwritten note dated Nov. 21, 2003, which still hangs in a simple wooden frame in Thelma’s living room in Powerview-Pine Falls, about 100 km northeast of Winnipeg, Eugene signed over temporary custody of Tina, his “little monkey,” and Sarah, whom he’d lovingly nicknamed “chubby.” Tina, a beautiful wisp of a girl, flourished at École Powerview after Thelma pulled her and Sarah from their reserve school. Math was her favourite subject. Her boyfriend was deaf; the pair communicated by texting.

Eugene was a constant presence. He never missed Christmas or a birthday. But he never had the chance to bring them back home to Winnipeg. He became addicted to his pain medication and the alcohol he was using to cope. On Oct. 31, 2011—just shy of the four months doctors told him he had left to live—Eugene was beaten to death in a dispute over money.

Tina was left deeply scarred. “Two people were killed that night,” says Thelma. Last spring, Tina ran away twice to Winnipeg to visit her mom—a relationship Thelma encouraged, feeling the girl needed another parental bond after losing her dad. In early July, she allowed Tina to visit her mom in Winnipeg for a week: it was her reward for excellent grades that June. The night before she left, the family gathered to pray and ask for protection, as they do every night. The next morning Thelma gave Tina $60 and a calling card. “If things don’t work out, use the calling card and I’ll come get you,” she said.

When Tina didn’t come home, Thelma reported her missing to police. Little is known about what happened to her in the weeks after that. She cut off her long, black hair. Her family believes she began using drugs. Friends say she was working in the sex trade to earn money. She was failed repeatedly by agencies meant to protect her.

On Aug. 8, police came across Tina in a roadside stop: she was in a vehicle with a male driver who was allegedly intoxicated. He was taken into police custody. Officers let Tina go, even though she was listed as a high-risk missing person. A few hours later she was rushed to Children’s Hospital after being found passed out in a core-area back alley. Her family was not notified she was in hospital. When she woke, Child and Family Services placed Tina in a downtown hotel where she was allowed to walk away. (In March 2014, the average number of kids in city hotels was 65, up from 17 two years earlier. The bloated system simply cannot cope with the huge number of children in care in Manitoba. Almost 90 per cent of children in foster care in Manitoba are Aboriginal, the highest rate in Canada.)

Tina was last seen on Aug. 9, shortly after 3 a.m., by a new friend. “I want to go home to Sagkeeng, where I’m loved,” she told her. The friend says Tina was approached by a man who asked her to perform a sex act. Eight days later she was pulled from the river, identified by a tattoo on her back bearing the name of her father, Eugene.

On a recent frigid weekday afternoon, a 14-year-old Aboriginal girl, coming off a high after huffing gas, told Maclean’s none of her girlfriends have changed their behaviour in the wake of Tina’s murder, laughing at the suggestion. She’d known Tina. Her friends know Rinelle Harper. “That’s never going to happen to us,” she said. Within days, Winnipeg police would announce another missing Aboriginal girl last seen in the North End. She is just 14—missing more than a month.

Since Tina’s death, Thelma has refused to leave her tidy home on Louis Riel Drive. “Every time I leave the house I feel like I’m having a panic attack.” She can’t forgive herself for letting Tina go to Winnipeg. “It’s like somebody ripped your heart out of your chest. To this day, it’s like they’re stomping, stomping, stomping on it.

“They treated her like garbage, wrapping her up in a bag and throwing her into the river,” she says. “She wasn’t garbage. She was my baby.”

Tina’s story cast a spotlight onto the shameful state of life for many Aboriginals in Winnipeg, where disdain for poor, inner-city Natives has long bubbled just barely beneath the surface. When measuring racism, social scientists tend to rely on opinion polling and media analyses. Last year, for example, Winnipeg recorded the highest proportion of racist tweets of the six Canadian cities known for high levels of hate crime, according to data collected by University of Alberta researcher Irfan Chaudhry. (Manitoba recorded the second-highest rate of hate crimes last year, after Ontario, according to a recent report.)


It is difficult to isolate Winnipeg or even Manitoba in opinion polling, which tends to group the Prairie provinces (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) together. But from them, a deeply troubling portrait of the region emerges. In poll after poll, Manitoba and Saskatchewan report the highest levels of racism in the country, often by a wide margin.

One in three Prairie residents believe that “many racial stereotypes are accurate,” for example, higher than anywhere else in Canada. In Alberta, just 23 per cent do, according to polling by the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration (CIIM). And 52 per cent of Prairie residents agree that Aboriginals’ economic problems are “mainly their fault.” Nationally, the figure drops to 36 per cent.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan also report the highest number of racist incidents, according to polling conducted by the Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. In the last year, nine in 10 Manitobans reported hearing a negative comment about an indigenous person. [tweet this] That’s compared with six in 10 in New Brunswick, according to that poll.

Generally, when groups interact, there is a correlating drop in prejudice as understanding grows, says Jack Jedwab, executive vice-president of the Association for Canadian Studies. But in Manitoba, where 17 per cent of the population is Aboriginal—the highest proportion among provinces, and four times the national average—and where 62 per cent reported “some contact” with indigenous people in the last year, the opposite appears to be true. Just six per cent of people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan consider Aboriginal people “very trustworthy.” In Atlantic Canada, 28 per cent do.

Just 61 per cent of Prairie residents said they would be comfortable having an Aboriginal neighbour, compared with 80 per cent in Ontario, according to a recent CBC/Environics poll; and just 50 per cent would be comfortable being in a romantic relationship with an indigenous person, compared to 66 per cent in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

This was a particularly bizarre result, says Niigaan Sinclair, who teaches Native studies at the University of Manitoba; after all, he adds with a chuckle, one in two Manitobans has indigenous blood. In the end, we are who we think we are. Culture defines identity.

In Manitoba, the problem appears to be getting worse, not better, at a time when the Aboriginal population is the fastest-growing in the province. The province registered a significant decline in its opinion of Aboriginal people in the last five years. Just 13 per cent of Manitobans have “very favourable” views of Aboriginal citizens, the lowest share in the country, and down from 32 per cent in 2007, according to CIIM data.

So what explains the unusually high degree of discrimination? To Sinclair, it is no coincidence that Manitoba was the only province founded in violence. The failed indigenous uprising headed by Metis leader Louis Riel led directly to the even bloodier Northwest Rebellion 15 years later, creating generations of animosity. But the playwright Ian Ross believes this discrimination is largely borne of fear—“that Indians are getting something you don’t have.”

Earlier this fall, Robert Falcon-Ouellette, director of the University of Manitoba’s Aboriginal focus programs, hit the Grant Park Shopping Centre in Winnipeg’s south end to hustle for signatures for his mayoral nomination form. The 37-year-old was a late entrant to the election. He’d cobbled together a campaign staff—idealistic political neophytes he knew from academia and activists he’d met at last year’s Idle No More rallies.

It was an ugly entry into politics. “I know you,” a shopper told Falcon-Ouellette, approaching him shortly after he arrived at the mall. “You’re that guy running for mayor. You’re an Indian,” he said, pointing a finger at Falcon-Ouellette. “I don’t want to shake your hand. You Indians are the problem with the city. You’re all lazy. You’re drunks. The social problems we have in the city are all related to you.”

Photograph by John Woods

Michael Champagne, left, holds weekly rallies in the North End; Jenna Wirch’s life has been filled with suicide, sex work and foster homes. (Photograph by John Woods)

Comments like these were the reason Falcon-Ouellette—who lost his mayoral run but is currently seeking the Liberal nomination for Winnipeg Centre, a riding long held by the NDP’s Pat Martin—chose to enter politics last summer. “I want to change perceptions,” he says. “I have my Ph.D., two masters’ degrees. I was in the army for 18 years,” says the Cree academic, who ties his long, chestnut hair in a tidy braid. “No matter what I do—for some people it will never be enough.” Initially, Falcon-Ouellette was written off as a fringe candidate. But his campaign took off when he outed Winnipeg as a city divided by colour, “opening a door on the soul of the city,” Sean Kavanagh, a civic affairs reporter for the CBC in Winnipeg, wrote in an analysis piece. 

Shortly after, the Winnipeg Free Press released poll results showing that 75 per cent of Winnipeggers consider the city’s divide between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal citizens a “serious problem.” (Nationally, Manitobans are most worried by a rise in racism: 65 per cent, versus 48 per cent in neighbouring Ontario.)

In the end, Falcon-Ouellette finished third. Winnipeg chose Brian Bowman, an urbane, boyish-looking privacy lawyer over NDP veteran Judy Wasylycia-Leis by a wide margin. In the days after the election, Bowman was anointed the city’s first Metis mayor by local media, although his heritage came as a surprise to most Winnipeggers.

Bowman, in an interview with Maclean’s shortly after his swearing-in, took pains to downplay talk of a racial divide in the city: “Racism affects many communities around the country,” he said. “I don’t like the tag—‘divided.’ It predisposes that everyone in different groups thinks a certain way. That’s just not the case.”

In light of recent events, many in the city’s indigenous community were furious to hear this from the new mayor. “It’s heartbreaking and insulting,” says Charlie Fettah, one half of the indigenous hip-hop duo Winnipeg Boyz. “You’d have to be blind, deaf and dumb to not see the divide. If Bowman is just going to come in singing Kumbaya, he’s the wrong mayor for this crucial juncture.”


Winnipeg is physically divided by the CP rail yards, which cut the primarily Aboriginal North End from the rest of the city. North End Winnipeg looks nothing like the idyllic, tree-lined, middle-class neighbourhoods to the south. It is the poorest and most violent neighbourhood in urban Canada. Many white Winnipeggers have never visited. To Falcon-Ouellette, a Calgary native who moved to Winnipeg from Quebec City, it is “Canada’s greatest shame.”

The neighbourhood is home to two of the country’s three poorest postal codes—the median household income in the North End is $22,293, less than half that of the wider city at $49,790. The homicides that plague the city, earning it the nickname “Murderpeg” and the country’s highest rate of violent crime, are a primarily North End phenomenon. On a recent visit there, a Selkirk Avenue clothing store—one of few remaining businesses on a strip crowded with social service agencies and boarded-up storefronts—was closing for good. The area had simply become too dangerous, the store’s owner explained.

One in three North End residents drop out of school before Grade 9, leaving huge swaths of young residents wholly disconnected from the labour market. One in six children are apprehended by Manitoba’s Child and Family Services. Girls as young as 11 or 12 routinely work the stroll. On North Main Street, traffic slows to a stall when intoxicated residents stumble across the street. Solvent abuse is as common as alcoholism here, and rising. Even in December’s cold, kids as young as nine clutch gas-soaked rags; some have begun stuffing them directly into their mouths for a more powerful high.

“I used to tell myself I wouldn’t live to see my sweet 16,” says 24-year-old Jenna Wirch. “I was sure I was going to die before then.” Both Wirch’s sisters committed suicide when they were growing up. Four of her closest friends have also died by suicide. One hung herself in an alley using her dog’s leash. She was 11. Wirch’s mom put her to work in the sex trade before her 10th birthday. She ran away at 11, then bounced between the street and a long list of foster homes. One was a crack house. Two friends were stabbed to death in front of her, one with a machete. This is a North End childhood.

The area’s hospitalization rate for violence is almost seven times that of the wider city. Within a year, roughly 20 per cent of youth treated for violence will be back in hospital seeking treatment for another injury, says Carolyn Snider, an ER doctor at the core area Health Sciences Centre. In a 2013 story published in Wave, Winnipeg’s health and wellness magazine, Dr. Snider said: “If that same number was quoted for stroke or heart attacks or many of the other conditions we treat, there would be uproar.” Snider, who trained at the country’s two largest trauma centres in downtown Toronto, says she was utterly unprepared for the degree of violence she encounters daily in Winnipeg. Much of the violence is committed within the Aboriginal youth community itself. The two accused of the November assault of Rinelle Harper are Aboriginal. Just eight per cent of Aboriginal women are killed by strangers; the majority are murdered by their spouses or boyfriends (40 per cent), family members (23 per cent) or acquaintances (30 per cent).

Jon C, of the Winnipeg Boyz, calls theirs the “bruised generation”: two generations removed from residential schooling but still reeling from its effects. “My grandmother went to full-time residential school—the ones who were beaten and brainwashed,” he says. “My own mother never lived with her; she never learned how to look after me and my sister, to nurture us.” He remembers sitting through wild, all-night parties as a toddler. “I remember my eyes just burning because there was so much smoke.” He stole food to stave off hunger as a boy. For a while his bed was a sheet on a cement basement floor.

It’s this sorry state of affairs that leads many in the city to look down on the Aboriginal population, or to dismiss the North End as a Native-only problem.

Tyler Henderson, a 28-year-old Ojibway nursing student at the University of Manitoba, says he feels racism every time he walks out his front door. Henderson says Winnipeg police stopped him 15 times last year. “You fit the description,” police tell him when he asks what he did wrong. Once, police claimed he’d pulled to a stop a few inches beyond the stop line. “It makes me mad,” he says. “But there’s nothing I can do.” Some young indigenous men are stopped twice per month in the inner city, according to University of Manitoba criminologist Elizabeth Comack.

Photograph by John Woods

Rosanna Deerchild, a local indigenous writer and broadcaster, says that every few weeks she is harassed. “Someone honks at me, or yells out ‘How much’ from a car window, or calls me a stupid squaw, or tells me to go back to the rez. Every time, it still feels like getting punched in the face.”

That’s just a reality of having brown skin in Winnipeg, says Jacinta Bear, who manages the North End Hockey Program. The youth program subsidizes registration fees for indigenous youth and gathers used equipment loaned to players for the season. “Our team has heard it all,” says Bear, whose husband, Dale, has coached the midget team for seven years. “Even opposing coaches and refs call our kids ‘dirty little Indians.’”

“Just keep smiling,” she tells the kids. “Don’t give them the reaction they’re after. There’s something not right in their lives and they’re taking it out on you.” Bear, 34, whose two sons both play for the Knights, takes pains to explain incidents like these are becoming less frequent. Still, these are “heartbreaking lessons” to teach eight-year-olds.

The problem is far more insidious than childish taunts. A few years ago, the federal government investigated claims that indigenous Winnipeggers were being denied housing due to discrimination. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation pulled together a random survey of Aboriginal renters. The results were damning. One in three told the CMHC that after showing up to visit an available suite they were told it had “just been rented.” More than 30 per cent felt they had been driven to neighbourhoods in the core, where the poverty rate and the incidence of crime more than doubles the wider city and jobs are scarce.

To Bartley Kives, the city’s top columnist, white privilege in Winnipeg isn’t about getting the best jobs or promotions. “It means not being worried your daughter is going to be raped and killed because of who she is.”

Winnipeggers engage in a bizarre “dance,” says city author and educator Joanne Seiff, who moved to Winnipeg in 2009 with her husband, a genetics professor. They are “aware and sensitive to race—as long as the person isn’t Aboriginal.” In 2009, shortly after arriving from Kentucky, she attended a neighbourhood potluck. There, some guests launched into a “scary diatribe” against the city’s indigenous population. Ironically, she adds, the conversation had actually begun when guests began lecturing her on the racism African-Americans face in the U.S. South. In polite society in the Peg, no one would dare speak ill of gays, Jews or blacks. But that’s not yet true of Aboriginals. Ross calls it “the final domino.”

Photograph by John Woods

The North End Hockey Program subsidizes registration fees for Aboriginal youth; its founders also hope to open a cooking school. (Photograph by John Woods)

Tyler Henderson visited Montreal recently. He felt like a weight had been lifted. Police ignored him. No one eyed him suspiciously walking down the street at night. He felt free.

Institutions are meant to be colour-blind. Last month, Manitoba released its report into the 2008 death of Brian Sinclair. The 45-year-old had sought treatment at the Health Sciences Centre (HSC) for a blocked catheter. Sinclair was Metis, with a host of health and social issues and a past history of substance abuse. He’d lost both legs to frostbite on a bitter February night the year before. His landlord had locked him out.

Although Sinclair initially spoke to a triage aide at HSC, he was never formally registered and was not seen by a nurse. As his condition deteriorated, he vomited repeatedly. Still, no hospital staff checked on him or asked if he was okay. A janitor who mopped up his vomit placed a silver bowl on the floor in front of his wheelchair. On four separate occasions concerned patients asked staff to check on him. None did. Finally, a security guard was prodded into checking on him by another patient. By then, 34 hours after arriving in hospital, Sinclair was dead. Rigor mortis had set in.

Many staff testified they’d believed Sinclair was homeless or intoxicated or “sleeping it off,” and not in need of care. Despite this, judge Tim Preston ruled last February that the inquest would not explore why those assumptions were made, nor how they might be avoided. The inquest would strictly focus on reducing wait times and hospital overcrowding. At that point, Sinclair’s family walked out. In December, they slammed the inquest as a wasted opportunity. “Stereotypes are at the root of why Brian was ignored for 34 hours,” said Brian’s cousin Robert Sinclair. “Those stereotypes have not gone away.”

Don Marks, a Winnipeg writer, recently visited an ER with an indigenous friend. They’d dropped a painting, and the broken glass had cut his friend. “Aw!” a nurse exclaimed in greeting them. “Have we been drinking and fighting again?” The nurse’s assumptions seemed harmless, says Marks, who edits Grassroots News, an Aboriginal newspaper—but they were not. “This was someone responsible for treating Native people in our hospitals. We all know racism exists in our health care system.”

Several Aboriginals told Maclean’s of occasions where they felt they were not treated fairly or quickly enough because of who they were. One, who had lacerations to his face, arms and skull, estimated losing one litre of blood while waiting up to three hours for treatment in a Winnipeg ER. He was given a towel to contain the bleeding. He believes he should have been seen by a physician immediately and might have, had he not been yet another young Aboriginal injured in a stabbing.

Understaffing and clogged waiting rooms cannot explain Sinclair’s death. The ER was fully staffed the day he died. Fully 17 staff members admitted seeing that he was there. And almost every angle of Manitoba’s well-documented wait-time problem had already been explored by government studies and media reports. To many Winnipeggers—at least to Aboriginal ones—this was yet another whitewash.

A few years ago, an inquest was held on the murders of two Aboriginal sisters who’d called Winnipeg police for help five times to their North End before they were fatally stabbed. Operators believed the women were intoxicated; police responded to the initial call, but didn’t return again for several hours. By then it was too late. An inquest into their murders blamed “poor training.” Racism and stereotyping were not considered.

Photograph by John Woods

Robert Falcon-Ouellette, director of the University of Manitoba’s Aboriginal focus programs. (Photograph by John Woods)

Other Western cities celebrate their First Nations heritage. Salish art covers the hoods of Vancouver’s police cars, strip malls, even its pothole covers. The Vancouver Canucks wear a Haida whale on their jerseys. Fin, their mascot, beats a Haida drum; and the team’s player of the game dons a Haida hat. Major indigenous art installations dot the city (the inukshuk at English Bay became the symbol for the Vancouver Olympics). The city’s airport houses the country’s most impressive collection of indigenous art, including Bill Reid’s Jade Canoe, once depicted on the $20 bill. In downtown Vancouver, a new public museum devoted to northwest coastal art recently opened. All of this is strikingly absent from Winnipeg, the indigenous heart of the continent, despite a flurry of new public buildings.

In September, roughly one kilometre downstream from the site Tina Fontaine’s body was discovered in the Red, the $351-million Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened at the Forks, the sacred confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. The 12-storey mountain of concrete and stone houses just two major exhibits directly addressing indigenous abuses. There are reflections on the indigenous experience elsewhere.

Alongside a treaty encased in glass there is no mention of the reality for Natives who agreed to its terms and resettled to reserves; there, they were barred from even leaving without apartheid-style “passes.” They slowly starved as the bison they relied on were wiped out. All this happened in the museum’s backyard.

“Colonialism didn’t just impact Aboriginal people,” says Perry Bellegarde, the new national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. “It forever changed the way the European population on the Prairies would see Aboriginals as a problem, never a partner.”

It is no coincidence that on a huge range of metrics, the indigenous community is faring worse in Manitoba than any other province. Manitoba, for example, has the worst school attendance record among Aboriginal youth of any province or territory. And just 28 per cent of indigenous Manitobans living on reserve graduate high school, fewer than in any other province. An Aboriginal boy in Manitoba is more likely to end up in prison than graduate.

The province imprisons a higher proportion of its indigenous population than apartheid South Africa did its black population. Sixty-five per cent of inmates at Stony Mountain Penitentiary, a medium-security prison just outside Winnipeg, are indigenous, the country’s highest Aboriginal incarceration rate measured by jail. An indigenous Manitoban born tomorrow is expected to live eight fewer years than a white boy born in the province.

These are neither Aboriginal nor white problems, says Kives, who writes for the Winnipeg Free Press: they’re a Winnipeg problem. “Until everyone in the city understands that the health and well-being of the rapidly growing indigenous community is inextricably linked to the health of the city overall we have a big problem.”

In the next decade, one in three kids entering kindergarten in Manitoba will be Aboriginal, says Jamie Wilson, treaty commissioner for Manitoba. All those kids are going to enter the workforce, he adds. That cohort has the potential to shape the future of the province. To Wilson, the question is simple: does Manitoba want to create a skilled, educated workforce or an army of underemployed, undereducated indigenous youth dependent on government assistance and services? It’s an increasingly urgent concern when roughly 70 per cent of new jobs require some postsecondary education.

Wilson grew up shuttling back and forth between his northern Manitoba reserve and the beach: both his parents earned doctorates from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Ten years ago, after serving as a Special Operations Ranger in the U.S. Army, he returned to Opaskwayak Cree Nation, just outside The Pas, to serve as director of education.

He couldn’t keep qualified teachers on reserve. He doesn’t blame them: “If they drove a mile down the road to teach at a school in the provincial system, they’d earn $10,000 more per year.” The problems of underfunding have been well documented: federally funded reserve schools receive 40 per cent of the funding that non-reserve schools do, amounting to a per child gap of $2,000 to $3,000. Many reserve schools don’t have libraries. One in three doesn’t even have running water.

But since Tina Fontaine’s murder, the ground has suddenly begun to shift in Winnipeg. A vigil held in her memory was “one of the most remarkable and massive in Winnipeg’s history,” according to Niigaan Sinclair, who called it a “turning point” in ethnic relations. He’d never seen so many white faces at an Aboriginal event before. “Winnipeggers, for perhaps the first time, saw Tina as their own.”

“Somehow, she opened people’s eyes—[people] who’d been trying so hard to keep them shut,” says social activist Noëlle DePape.

The city certainly does not want for organizations trying to help indigenous Winnipeggers. But a new generation of remarkable young activists is taking matters into their own hands. Meet Me at the Belltower, a one-time rally to take back the North End, has become a weekly call to action: every Friday, families and young people gather at the Selkirk Avenue belltower in the heart of the North End to demonstrate against violence. The event was launched by Michael Champagne, a dynamic, 27-year-old TED Talk veteran never seen without at least a half-dozen young acolytes. Champagne is like the Pied Piper of the neighbourhood, empowering a generation of indigenous kids.

Every Sunday, Althea Guiboche, a Cree mother of seven known as “the bannock lady,” can be found feeding 300 hot chili and bannock meals on North Main. The Bears, meanwhile, are building on the success of the North End Hockey Program and hope to launch a program for teen girls and a cooking school for at-risk indigenous youth later this year.

Two months after Tina Fontaine’s vigil, almost to the day, Winnipeg elected Bowman mayor. Just before his official swearing-in, on Nov. 4, Bowman made a last-minute addition to his speech. He chose to open by acknowledging that council had gathered “on Treaty 1 land, and in the traditional territory of the Metis Nation,” a simple, but deeply moving nod.

Photograph by John Woods

Photograph by John Woods

It has become tradition when delivering a speech in Vancouver to acknowledge and give thanks to the Coast Salish, whose traditional territories cover the city; but this had never been done at Winnipeg City Hall before. The incoming mayor, a Jets fan who arrived in office with little but a game-used Mark Scheifele stick (he was scared his kids were going to put it through the living room window if he left it at home) was uncharacteristically emotional and choked up delivering the message.

“I see a real opportunity right now—with the level of engagement over these very serious and difficult issues—to make a difference,” Bowman told Maclean’s. “If my own family’s heritage can assist in building bridges in various communities in Winnipeg, then that’s an opportunity I fully intend on leveraging. I want to do everything I can.”

A month later, on Dec. 5, the city’s police chief, Devon Clunis, delivered more surprising remarks, calling on Winnipeggers to engage in a “difficult” conversation on the city’s ethnic divide. He asked residents to recognize white privilege, suggesting their “affluence” resulted from historic inequity. “Some people simply feel indigenous people choose to be a drunk on Main Street or they choose to be involved in the sex trade. No. We need to have those specific conversations—and try to understand why those individuals are living in those conditions.”

To Jamie Wilson, after Tina Fontaine’s death it was like “you couldn’t deny it anymore”—the racism, all the problems. He believes Winnipeg has begun confronting these head-on. “Right now, we’re stuck in a trap. We’re going to have to acknowledge it. Or it will forever hold us back.”

“Tina did this,” says Thelma Favel. “Tina opened even the government’s eyes. It had to take my baby to die for people to realize there was a problem—and there still is.”

Correction: The original version of this story stated that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg houses just two exhibits addressing indigenous abuses. In fact, the museum houses many exhibits that touch on the issue in various ways. (See letter below.) Maclean’s regrets the error.  

Look to the Feb. 16 issue of Maclean’s for more reader response on this story. Here are a few of the letters we have received: 

Thank you! Finally the shameful story of racism in this country is being told. When I grew up in Northwestern Ontario, racism was overt and practiced in the schools, churches and community. The police were often the perpetrators of violence and injustices against the First Nations people upon whose land the gold mines in the area thrived. Although the situation there has improved, there still exists an undercurrent of inequality. Missing and murdered aboriginals is not a new story. It is merely one that is finally being told. I pray that your story on the situation in Winnipeg will be the start of an ongoing series exposing the ugly truth of the racism that exists elsewhere in Canada.

— Linda Lundstrom, Caledon, Ont.

I was very happy to read your article about Winnipeg and how it needs to change. It’s been long overdue. It’s disgusting how the aboriginals were/are treated in their own homeland. Coming from north Winnipeg as a Metis, I strongly agree with Nancy Macdonald’s article. And keep the good fight going. Ignorant people, get the hell outta the way. The world is changing.

— Brad Bruce, Winnipeg

Your January 22 story about racism in Winnipeg has created an opportunity for thought and conversation about one of Canada’s most pressing human rights concerns. Unfortunately, the information relayed about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was incorrect. The museum houses dozens of exhibits that explore violations against Indigenous Peoples, along with stories of survival, resilience and hope (not just two).  An original copy of Treaty One is displayed as part of an exhibit about Canada’s legal traditions, intended to remind visitors of the commitments forged between First Nations and all Canadians. Several other exhibits located throughout the museum explore the devastating legacy of colonization for Indigenous Peoples, including the system of  “reserve passes” that once restricted their movement, Residential Schools,  child welfare, forced relocation the North, missing and murdered Aboriginal women, clean water on reserves, Métis resistance – and many more.

Far from minimizing the grave human rights violations that occurred in its own backyard (as your story suggests), the Museum is committed to education about these events, and about the ways people have worked towards reconciliation and positive change. Under a deliberate “decolonized” approach, stories designed to inspire thought, discussion and action for Indigenous rights can be found in every one of its 10 core galleries. Programs for school children and the general public have also been created to focus attention on Indigenous rights, developed in cooperation with Elders and others in the Indigenous community. As a new national institution dedicated to the promotion of human rights through education, our goal is to be a safe place for conversations from multiple perspectives – as a path towards a society free of racism where everyone can live together with dignity and respect.

— Gail Stephens, Interim President and CEO, Canadian Museum for Human Rights

I’m really insulted by someone calling my city racist. If you look at all the food banks and the many volunteers helping each other to make everyone else’s life a lot easier, you’ve got no right to call us racist. I’ve been here all my life and I’ve never  heard anyone treating anyone differently because of their nationality.

— Randy Kotyk, Winnipeg

 Of course Canada has racial problems, Canada has racists laws.  Canada’s laws are racial based, they depend on the race of your parents.  The U.S. no longer has laws only applicable to African-Americans. As long as Canada has laws applicable only to Aboriginal-Canadians we will continue to have race problems. Assimilation has proven a disaster, but why not a whole hearted try for integration?

— H. C. Bosman, Lethbridge, Alberta




Welcome to Winnipeg: Where Canada’s racism problem is at its worst

  1. Go figure – the writing staff at Macleans is whiter than a Winnipeg winter.

    • You said it! I agree!

  2. Canada’s colonial past has finally caught up with it.

    Time to stop spouting excuses, grabbing red herrings, and talking nonsense……and solve the problem.

    • Brilliant. Let’s “solve” the problem. Why hasn’t anybody thought of that before?!

      • ‘Thinking’ it won’t help. We need action.

        • EMily,

          What “action” have you done to solve the problem…..other than falling for this lame article that fails to mention most of these women and girls are victims of male aborigianl violence?

          You are so predictable.

          • I don’t think you read the entire article. Or, if you did, you missed the section that specifically talked about this issue: “Much of the violence is committed within the Aboriginal youth community itself. The two accused of the November assault of Rinelle Harper are Aboriginal. Just eight per cent of Aboriginal women are killed by strangers; the majority are murdered by their spouses or boyfriends (40 per cent), family members (23 per cent) or acquaintances (30 per cent).” You know, just so your “predictably” ignorant comment can at least be accurate…

      • So sarcasm too! Being a racist pig isn’t enough for you. As I have said before, anyone who can’t see racism when it is staring them in the face, is a racist pig! I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the ignorance and racist remarks following this story. You people highlight and reinforce the purpose of this story. What a pathetic lot!

        • Patthelion – You’re the pathetic one screaming racism at every single issue aboriginals face, most of which have nothing to do with race. Decent people of all races know what real racism is, and are tired of guilt tripping morons like you and especially the corrupt money thieving chiefs crying racism over issues that mostly come down to being accountable for their own actions.

          The real irony is morons like you are just as racist to white people but you feel justified because you see all whites as racist when in fact most are not.

          Let me guess, your response will be that I’m racist, Winnipeg’s racist, everybody except natives are all racist. We get it already.

    • Yeah better throw more money at the problem right! The NDP will come up with another “program” and revamp CFS (yeah right) which will of course be extorted from tax payers and the problem will all be solved!

      Manitoba is a joke, I like most educated, hard working, decent people and tired of being extorted by the NDP will move to greener pastures. I don’t miss it one bit, and will never move back.

      • After reading many comments like yours, I’d just like to point out that you idiots sound exactly like the Americans in the Tea Party.

        That’s right, those idiot whackjobs that dress like they live in the 1700’s, claim that freedom means making sure nobody gets health insurance, and that black people shouldn’t have been freed from slavery.

        You are exactly the same as those idiots. Congratulations, you’re making me have pride in my country again by showing that the clowns that our our nation’s embarrassment live in all corners of the world.

        • How you came up with that we will never know…….but frankly Randal, you sound a tad out of touch

        • LOL aww what’s the matter? Did I ruin your little U of W sociology paper about the NDP socialists paradise that you’re typing up at starbucks? I’m not right wing, I’ve never voted anything other than Liberal and Green in my entire life. Do blacks (who were enslaved nevermind exploited) have even a tiny percent of the same privileges that FN have here in Canada? Do they get tax exemptions and free university? Free admission into Museums that were constructed with stolen money from the people?

          The numbers speak for themselves, Winnipegs population has been pretty much the same since the 80s, yet every year there’ll be droves of university grads moving in search of actual jobs with salaries that don’t suck, and not being taxed to hell and back by the NDP on overvalued houses built in 1973, or ridiculous premiums to drive by the criminal MPI.

          Oh well I guess the educated, hard working thousands that leave every year are just Tea Party racists, wouldn’t want to ruin the perfect welfare state that the NDP are now fighting amongst themselves over.

          But the Jets are back!!! woooo!!!

        • Randal, your comments reveal a surprising lack of knowledge about the Tea Party. There is absolutely no truth to your allegation that Tea Party activists have a racist agenda. Your outrageous statement that Tea Party activists believe that black people should have remain enslaved is not only flatly wrong but, in my opinion, is patently obscene and indicates that you are poorly informed on this subject. Some of the most prominent leaders and outspoken proponents of the Tea Party movement are African-Americans. Former Congressman Alan West (R-Florida), former Presidential candidate Herman Cain, newly elected Congresswoman Mia Love (R-Utah) and newly elected Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) are among the most vocal leaders of The Tea Party movement. As to your claim that the Tea Party is attempting to prevent American citizens from getting health insurance, nothing could be further from the truth. The Tea Party has advocated free market reforms to the U.S. health insurance industry, focusing on the ability of individuals to shop for health insurance across state lines and using the resulting competition to increase quality while keeping prices competitive. Contrary to the hideously flawed Obamacare scheme which has failed to keep any of the promises on which it was sold to the American people (lower cost, ability to keep your existing plan, ability to keep your existing doctor), the plan promoted by Tea Party activists allows Americans to customize plans in order to fit their needs, not the whims of government bureaucrats who think that 70 year old women need pregnancy coverage. I guess you saw someone wearing a tri-corner hat at a Tea Party rally covered by MSNBC or CNN and have surmised that EVERYONE dresses this way. Sorry to break it to you, but you are wrong on this point as well. The Tea Party is not a political party, does not endorse candidates, and advocates only for a return to government restrained by the Constitution. Not very idiotic or radical, if you ask me.

          • Apparently you are not aware that Alan West was voted out and as soon as Herman Cain’s “transgressions” were brought to the fore front, he was sent packing. The tea party is without question a bigoted party that came around just as the first African American president was elected. I am an American and yes the tea bag party are loaded with many racists.

          • As a Canadian living in the US, I can tell you that the Tea Party is indeed a faction of the GOP, one which those of us who are moderates wish would just sit down and shut up! They are, by and large, right-wing loons, like Michelle Bachmann, who railed against Medicaid, yet whose husband Marcus ran a clinic that accepted Medicaid. The clinic, by the way, claimed to be able to ‘cure’ gay men and turn them straight. On my tax dollar. God Bless America!

        • Canada’s First Nations people have more advantages available to them than the rest of the population, so how is it White Canada’s fault if young people choose to reject a fully-subsidized university education and, instead, live on government handouts for the rest of their lives? I know someone who was flying supplies to reservations. In the spring, the residents would leave their 7-month old snowmobiles on the ice to sink to the bottom of the lake, knowing that the Canadian taxpayer would be supplying them with new machines come September!
          Do you think that the eastern Europeans who came to Winnipeg in the late 1880s were welcomed with open arms by the Anglos and offered top jobs? The Ukrainians were called ‘Hunkies’, and worse. Yet while the first generation of immigrants were poor farmers, they knew the value of an education and their children became doctors, lawyers and engineers. It’s 2015 and the excuse of racial bias and racism is running pretty thin. Maybe it’s high time that Chiefs took a hard look at what they have allowed to occur in their communities. If children are raised in homes where they feel safe and loved and are told from day one that they have value and can become anything they want and will one day go to university, they tend to do just that.

          • You fail to recognize the problem. Did you even read the story? The problem isn’t the lack of supports or the free education, it is racism. And what the hell is White Canada? No one said that all whites are racist. And have you read any of the actual treaties Canada has made with First Nations? I don’t think racism is the biggest problem. I think getting racists to recognize and admit they are racist is the bigger problem!

          • I would like to propose a social experiment. Reread your comment (and every comment like yours on this thread), but every time you see “First Nations”/”Chiefs”/”Indians”/”Natives” etc. with “African Americans”. Does it leave a bad taste in your mouth when you read it that way? It should. If people spoke of African Americans (or Jews, or any other cultural group that is NOT a First Nation) the way some people in this country speak of First Nations, there would be NO question that they were racist bigots who belong in an entirely different era. Why, then, is it considered okay to speak of First Nations this way if you would never dream of speaking of another cultural group in this manner? Altering your language is the first step in phasing out generations of racism. (Also, it always makes me laugh when the people who have never experienced generations of residential school abuse, racism, and the kinds of conditions people live in on reserves start pontificating about what the solution should be. If you’ve never lived it, you know nothing about it, and should really shut up and let someone who DOES know what they’re talking about take your place in the conversation. Just saying.)

          • My above comment should read “replace it with “African Americans”.”

      • You sir are a very ignorant individual. As is evidenced by your comment. I would counter your thoughts but I just don’t feel like people like you are worth it.
        PS. We don’t miss you either. Rest assured.

        • Never mind countering my thoughts, you can’t counter raw numbers of the population of Winnipeg remaining the same except NDP raising taxes and spending and educated working people leaving but the aboriginal population exploding, as well as the number of children in CFS care.

          The NDP definitely misses me because I’m one less sucker paying their taxes for corrupt projects like the museum and the worst roads on the planet.

          • I agree, people like you just aren’t worth it! Albert Einstein said it best, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” You live in a tiny box, but you should come out once and a while!

      • Maclean’s is a joke – I am better educated and accomplished than you or yours ever could be.

      • And your point is? Did you read the story or just the title? I’m curious if you are blind and ignorant, or just ignorant?

    • E1 I thought ‘Idle No More’ meant they were all going to get jobs, Boy did I look silly……..

    • The best way to start on solving this problem is getting this country’s actual history into the school books where it belongs. There is an abysmal lack of knowledge for the majority of the population on Canada’s history and treatment of the Indigenous. There is far too little known or understood about how the Treaties are written and how integral they are to the actual Constitution of the country. There is far too little known or understood about how the Indian Act even came into being and what that Act was about, what rules and regulations were imposed on the Indigenous and that people aren’t even aware that Act is still in activity today. There is no understanding about how the Government department that oversees that Act works, nor even how the funding for it is attained. People still think it is about taxes, even though there wasn’t even a tax system in Canada when the Indian trust funds were started! There wasn’t even a Bank of Canada yet.

      This should all be common knowledge by now, but it’s not and therein lies a huge chasm of understanding. Time to get moving on the education first, Canada.

      • I understand this article and she makes her point. Freedom of speech is not always kind. The truth hurts and sometimes shames people. But that is life and it is not always perfect. There is a lack history in this countries schools and not just Indians but the Chinese, Irish, Blacks, French, Polish and so on. Yes lets educate people and make sure it is made clear that every knows that this country was under the rule of England and what happened to the Indians of this country was under England’s rule and control. So yes all of us Canadians are not responsible and I for one am tired of being blamed, accused and held responsible for what happened. Using the term white is raciest also. Maybe if we were all treated equally and knowing the history of this country would help us to never make the same mistakes. You learn from history you live in the present and build for the future. As long as you are born in Canada you are native to this land and indigenous to this country. The words native and indigenous belong to all born Canadians not just the Indians. The term First Nation is not a legal nor is recognized as a legal term the word Indian is. The treaties should be ended as the Indian Act. Time to be one nation of people no matter your heritage or when you came here or from where.

    • Talking nonsense is what this article is doing. She is misleading her readers by not telling the complete truths. The cases she has presented in the articles were basically all Aboriginals committing crimes on Aboriginals. That’s not racism. Below is an interview with her regarding the article. She fails miserably.


      • What story did you read? There was one stat in that whole story that might have implied, if it was taken out of context, what you state. Step out of the way, you can’t see what is staring you in the face.

        • PATTHELION:

          The author is a WHITE (guilt) LIBERAL from Toronto who’s only experience with First nations people is counted by the times she had to step over one on her way to Starbucks.

          The radio interview she gave was quite telling. She knowingly left out what is discussed above. She couldn’t answer a basic question about what racism is. here’s a hint…it’s not racism, if a large number of aboriginal men beat, murder, or rape aboriginal women. It is a breakdown in the aboriginal community.

          The author was just looking to get noticed with a hard-hitting article. Unfortunately for her, she wasn’t counting on people who live in Winnipeg telling her just how wrong she is. The article is highly inaccurate, but also purposefully misleading.

          As I have writting many times before…the problem with aboriginal women and violence is ABORIGINAL MEN. it isn’t racism.

  3. A few examples of racism that hits the media and the whole city gets painted as racists. Come spend sometime in Winnipeg to get an actual understanding of what you’re writing about.

    What a pile of crap from Macleans.

    • Ahh…the ‘outsiders’ gambit.

      Won’t work. Ont has more reserves than you do.

      • May be so – also has a higher population and a larger land mass. I fail to see your point though – in a nation this large every region has its own set of issues and its own experiences. I’d be hard pressed to find a city in Ontario comparable to Winnipeg, and I’d be hard pressed to find a city in Manitoba comparable to Toronto…

        • None of which has anything to do with racism in Winnipeg.

          • Exactly – your point has nothing to do with racism in Winnipeg either. Thanks for helping me prove mine – the original commenter’s point is that if the writer came to Winnipeg and spent some time to get an actual understanding of the city and the people the article would be better.

      • Ontario also has the highest number of hate crimes in Canada. I guess you glossed over that part of the article though.

        • Does that statement fix Winnipeg?

          • No, Winnipeg doesn’t need fixing. What needs fixing is people like you who think that negative tweets are worse than actual hate crimes.

          • The problem needs fixing all across Canada.

            We’ve known that from the beginning

            Don’t pretend it’s just Winnipeg.

          • EMily,

            If you take the article, and replace “Aboriginal” with the word “Jew”…..I’m sure you wouldn’t care one iota.

        • Per capita? If not, of course Ontario’s numbers are higher.

          Racism can’t be measured by reported assaults and vandalism. Beyond that, hate crimes don’t account for systemic, or institutionalized racism.

        • Per capita? If not, of course Ontario’s numbers are higher.

          Racism can’t be measured by reported assaults and vandalism. Beyond that, hate crimes don’t account for systemic, or institutionalized racism.

        • The writer just has a huge chip on her shoulder.

          • Sounds like you’re the one with a chip on his shoulder, “I am better educated and accomplished than you or yours ever could be.”

        • But those hate crimes are predominately aimed towards JEWS…..so the media doesn’t report them.

          And they aren’t reported mainly because those committing hate crimes against jews…tend to get a little fanatical and head-choppy if you point out their predisposition to violence. As we have seen recently, there is only one journalist in Canada who has the guts to point this out.

          but he’s a Jew too…..so again, it’s not news.

    • Yeah? Try walking around as an Indigenous person for one day anywhere in Canada, especially Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Vancouver, ….. and I’m sure your view would be drastically different. Ignorance is bliss, white privilege must be too.

      • You forgot Prince Albert, Sask. Lovely little racist berg.

      • the national grieveance society is out in force today.
        aboriginals wont be happy til they get all on the land of canada.
        why are chinese and east indians and pakistanis and muslims and so on all getting ahead and aboriginals arent. its not just racism
        holding them back.

        • You niether understand the effects of racism nor its history with First Nations. But I think your problem is even graver, in that you don’t see yourself as racist! But you definitely are, as evidenced by your comment!

      • Wapisay,

        I’ve walked around quite a few aboriginals in Victoria….and sadly, many of them were drunk, dirty, homeless, and asking me for change or threatening violence. the problems are of a social nature…not a racist nature.

        both of my sisters are married to aboriginal men, and they don’t report any instances of overt racism, as they are clean cut, married with kids, and productively employed. Start there…..

    • My job requires me to travel across this country on a regular basis. There’s no part of this country where natives aren’t bombarded with racial comments. In Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary (maybe not Toronto though) as soon as someone learns you’re native you’ll hear a comment about a hypothetical native grievance industry, natives getting free x, y or z, comments about how angry or drunk or whatever natives are supposed to be – even from rich people, intelligent people, and educated people. I’ve even had people I employ say racist stuff about natives to my face. Still, outside of the prairies, it doesn’t dominate every interaction. In Montreal or Vancouver, people look down on natives as a group, but seem to be OK to treat individuals as individuals. In the prairies though, and Winnipeg/Edmonton/Saskatchewan in particular? Being native there dominates everything, people see that you’re native and refuse to look at you as an individual. There’s small ‘r’ ignorance-fueled racism elsewhere in Canada, but the Prairies stands out in having actual honest-to-god old-timey, Dixie flag waving, get-away-from-my-daughter, *racism*. Being native there is like being a devout Muslim woman in Quebec. I’m not saying it’s everyone there, but it’s enough to ruin your day.

      • Congratulations! You have successfully generalized the point of views of the entire Prairie region of Canada! For achieving such a miraculous feat, you have won the GRAND PRIZE! You call people ignorant then show complete ignorance, you talk about the negatives of stereotyping, then proceed to create your own. Seriously good work, I’m sure you’re very good at your job.

        • points of view*

          • Read the last line again … not the entire Prairie region, but enough of the people in it to make traveling there unpleasant. But ‘complete ignorance’? No. Like I’ve said, I have to cross most of this country on a regular basis. For a native person, there’s a difference when you get to the Prairies, actually when you get to Thunder Bay.

        • You demonstrate what I’ve said before. Troubled people, such as yourself, tend to read what they want, extracting their defence as they read. I distincly read, “I’m not saying it’s everyone there, but it’s enough to ruin your day.” You should retain your grand prize for your excellence in poverty of the soul and sarcasm. Oh, and lets not forget your ability to project an image ov yourself onto others.

      • give me a break. calgary has a muslim mayor and a very diverse population. heck the tsui tnai makes a lot of cash. casino hotel
        signed a ring road deal for 250 million in cash and double the land taken. they are rolling in it. oil and gas and logging .
        go to toronto their group that can claim racism is blacks.

    • I agree! Racism is a societal problem, not just a Winnipeg problem. It exists ALL OVER Canada, which is unfortunate & unacceptable! If Canadians would visit Winnipeg and Manitoba they will pleasantly discover ‘Friendly Manitoba’! EVERYONE is WELCOME to come visit & live in Manitoba!

    • There was a story in CBC Winnipeg news on October 7th, 2014. The headline: “Deep racial division exists in Winnipeg, poll finds”. Now how is this article saying anything different except adding some specifics? The first part of the CBC polling story states:

      “Most Winnipeggers believe there is a deep racial gulf between aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens, according to a new poll.

      Of the 602 Winnipeg adults who were surveyed, 75 per cent acknowledged there is a divide, according to Probe Research, which conducted the poll.

      “This includes 49 per cent who strongly agree that this racial division is a major problem for Winnipeg and an additional 26 per cent who moderately agree that this is a serious issue,” a Probe press release stated.

      Curtis Brown, a senior research associate with Probe, said that kind of number is unprecedented.

      “It’s a serious issue facing the city, so about three quarters of the public thinks that,” said Brown. “That’s a really high number.””

      • The fact that they extrapolated a survey of 602 people to represent a city of over 700,000 should say it all

        • Actually, statistically speaking, that representation is very fair. In fact, the poll reflected a margin of error of four per cent or 19 times out of 20. If you look up samples needed for this error margin in stats, you’ll get the same sample ranges in the searches.

          Curtis Brown, the senior research associate with Probe, said that kind of number is unprecedented in this kind of an issue poll.

        • I am curious how deep your incompetence goes. You seem very opiniated but also unintelligent. You don’t grasp the nature of racism and it’s effects, the historical evidence, statistics, or the science of polling.

    • Never any violence, or sexism, or racism, or hate, etc, etc, in other parts of the country, eh?

      • Of course there is. There is everywhere. The article was not saying that we should ignore other provinces stigmatic attitude towards first nations. But this issue is so prevalent in Canada and it seems as though a lot of people turn a blind eye. Raising awareness to one extreme issue in Manitoba does not imply that the other provinces are just as bad. However, people in Manitoba, and everywhere, need to be vigilant and act against racist comments and actions, to help change opinions about our native peoples.

      • Where do your thoughts come from?

    • It’s pretty easy to sit behind a desk in Toronto “making a difference” by bringing racial injustice to light….bahahahaha Come live in the biggest reserve in North America for awhile and watch your tax dollars being abused while your city crumbles around you with no $$$ for repairs.

      • What you don’t realize Dave, is that the racist attitudes of so many Winnipegers set the precedence for your governments actions.

    • What a pile of crap from Wayne Primeau! Been there, seen it myself. I married a beautiful woman from Manitoba, it only seemed natural to meet her family. What a bunch of indignant racist pigs! My wife excluded, that was one of the reasons she left.

    • Btw Wayne, the whole city of Winnipeg wasn’t painted as racist. It was only suggested as argueably one of the most racist cities in the country, and judging from all the defensive comments, I would have to agree.

  4. They called me a Whitey Settler and told me to get off their land.

    • THAT must have shocked your white privilege!

      • You sound racist to me. Very resentful at the very least.

  5. Wow, just wow. I’m speechless. And I’m horrified by the quality of this article, the one sidedness and the lack of actual statistics, interviews with average Winnipeggers/Manitobans. You’ve left me feeling like you’ve labeled me, a Manitoban who you have never met, as a racist. Along with my friends, my family and my 4 year old child. I’m so disappointed in this article that I have two initial reactions – 1 – never purchase a MacLeans again – why would I support your magazine, and 2 – as you’re owned by Rogers and I’m a long-time Rogers customer whose contracts are coming up – move over to Telus.

    There is some SOME truth in this article- but not the whole truth. Not the full story – just the parts to build the story that you wanted to write. One problem with the article – not the biggest, not the smallest – is your reference to Tina Fontaine and the suggestion her killing was racist… considering the crime is still being investigated I struggle to see how that conclusion can be reached?

    You mention the crimes against Aboriginal people – but fail to show statistics or the facts of who perpetrates those crimes. You mention that the percentage of Aboriginal people in Stony is high – but fail to mention that most crimes are committed by those within the same socio-economic situation and the perpetrater is statistically most likely to be of the same race. Do you suggest that Aboriginal victims deserve less justice?

    I strongly encourage the city of Winnipeg and province of Manitoba to sue.

    • Oh wait…..didn’t we just have a global uproar about ‘freedom of speech’?

      • Freedom of speech does not mean you can defame an entire population or region. Freedom of speech does allow me to have an opinion on the article – and does allow me to expect quality journalism from a national publication.

        • Well, that’s what Charlie did….and what we defended.

          • No, Charlie printed satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. Satirical cartoons are a) editorial and b) satirical. They are not meant to be seen as researched, balanced journalism, and they certainly are not seen as fact. Big difference.

        • There were no caveats on the marching and signs I’m afraid.

          • Sorry – I thought we were discussing the publications – not the marchers outside them? Here are two simple facts – an article presented by a journalist should be researched, fair and balanced – no opinions. A satirical cartoon is an opinion piece created to garner a reaction using irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like.

            And my lunch is over – back to the grindstone I go. Thanks for the conversation.

          • How dare you bring logic and well thought out arguments to the table 4057? What were you thinking?

        • Guilty and demanding! If you don’t like what you read, don’t read. You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to expect everyone to share your opinion, or assume your opinion should be nationally standardized. You and I obviously have different opinions about quality journalism. As well, I do not see this story as defamatory to Winnipeg, but indeed, and rightfully so, it is defamatory to the racist population of Winnipeg. Truly, the problem isn’t racism, it is ignorance, which leads to racism and then further ignorance. The racist by nature, denies his/her racism and, committed, seeks to substantiate his/her claim.

      • You thought that “uproar” was in defense of shoddy journalism? Why am I not surprised you missed the point entirely.

      • Emily,

        the article is not being critcized because of freedom of speech issues. It’s being criticized because it is entirely inaccurate…and frankly, sounds like the author just “made it up” to meet the narrative she was looking for. The very first three samples she cites, were vicitims of aboriginal men. The girl who was saved from the ditch was saved by two white men.

        The author should be embarrased for such an inaccurate story….but she is from Toronto, and writes for Macleans, so chances are, she won’t see it.

    • They actually do mention that: “Much of the violence is committed within the Aboriginal youth community itself.” It’s in a large block of text in the article, surrounded by statistics.

    • Guilt tends to make the morally blind squirm! You seem very squirmy! An innocent person is better equiped to see clearly and recognize a problem where it exists, and acknowledge it readily. Racism towards First Nations in Canada undeniably exists, and it is very prevalent in Winnipeg, and you don’t seem to recognize it or acknowledge it.


        What else is undeniable, is that the VAST MAJORITY of violence against aboriginal women comes from members of the aboriginal community.

        You write:
        “An innocent person is better equiped to see clearly and recognize a problem where it exists, and acknowledge it readily.”

        To which I would respond; ” an honest person is better equipped to see clearly and recognize a problem where it exists, and acknowledge it readily.”

        If you cannot follow your own advice, then perhaps you shouldn’t be giving it.

  6. “They came in the wake of a civic election dominated by race relations”… that civic election also elected a Metis mayor, by a landslide. I guess Winnipegers are so racist and stupid that they don’t even know they elected an aboriginal dude?

    Another interesting fact that this writer conveniently didn’t feel like investigating, was that almost to a fault, every one of the crimes against aboriginals referenced in this article, was in fact perpetrated by other aboriginals. This makes Winnipeg racist? Oh, never mind, that probably just makes me racist.

    where 17 per cent of the population is Aboriginal—the highest proportion among provinces, and four times the national average—and where 62 per cent reported “some contact” with indigenous people in the last year, the opposite appears to be true. Just six per cent of people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan consider Aboriginal people “very trustworthy.”

    So 17% of the population is aboriginal, but only 6% find them trustworthy. So not even half of aboriginals find their fellow aboriginals to be trustworthy. It says more about certain segments of aboriginal culture than it does about the city being racist.

    Almost 90 per cent of children in foster care in Manitoba are Aboriginal

    And this makes Winnipeg racist? You’d think if Winnipeg was racist, they wouldn’t put the kids in foster care and let them stay with their deadbeat parents. But no, let’s not talk about the lousy parenting skills in a certain segment of society. Much easier to just brand folks as racist.

    a 14-year-old Aboriginal girl, coming off a high after huffing gas, told Maclean’s

    Nice source you got there. I wonder if the author had the foresight to tell the teenage solvent abuser that she was headed down the wrong path in life? Naw, that’d be offensive to their “culture”, I suppose.

    Winnipeg recorded the highest proportion of racist tweets of the six Canadian cities known for high levels of hate crime… (Manitoba recorded the second-highest rate of hate crimes last year, after Ontario, according to a recent report.)

    Ya, forget about actual hate-crimes, Twitter! Imagine the uproar from politically correct leftists if this magazine pointed out that the most hate crimes in Canada happen in Toronto.

    He’d lost both legs to frostbite on a bitter February night the year before. His landlord had locked him out.

    You’re leaving something out there. People don’t lose both legs to frostbite because they’re locked out of their home…. when they’re sober.

    What’s truly racist is writing a column like this that focuses entirely on the negatives of the aboriginal community. Tens of thousands of aboriginals go to work, raise families, and are active and contributing members of their communities in Winnipeg. Too bad the author didn’t bother talking to any of them.

    • To your last point – that would have made for balanced reporting, and wouldn’t have supported a position already reached by the writer… can’t have that!

    • You missed the part in the article that said most Winnipeggers weren’t aware of Mayor Bruce Bowman’s Metis heritage until after the election.

      • You missed the part where his name is Brian Bowman….

      • His name is Brian Bowman

  7. And just 28 per cent of indigenous Manitobans living on reserve graduate high school, fewer than in any other province

    I guess what’s needed is some type of school system where the kids are taken away from their irresponsible parents and forced to go to school. We could call them “residential schools”. Brilliant!

    • Or we could provide a better education where they are.

      • I actually know some of the people who have worked at reserve schools in the north. They move to the community, live in the community and work very hard. AANDC provides a higher per capita budget to the reserves for the schools then any other school in Manitoba receives from the Province. The teachers I know care deeply for their students, are well qualified, and dedicated. The things they see with the kids, things that are happening to the kids in their homes, are terrible. Unless you have taught at one of those schools, unless you have deep personal knowledge of the quality of education, perhaps you should hold your comment.

        Additionally – teachers cannot force parents to send their kids to school – they can only teach those children who are there. It is the parents/guardians responsibility to get the kid to school, to help the children at home, to read to their children and to show an interest in their education.

        • The article is about racism in Winnipeg, and in Canada generally…..it is not about your parenting views.

          • Not responding to the article – responding to your suggestion that schools on reserves are the problem causing a low attendance and graduation rate – which seems to absolve the parents and community of fault.

        • Your statement that the AANDC provides higher per student than the rest of the province is quite curious to me. This contradicts the AANDC reports and is indeed a huge point of contention for Indigenous groups across the country. In fact, most reserve students are allotted nearly half of the funding than children in the regular provincial system. i.e. they receive $5,000 per compared to $9,000 for other students. They also can’t hire any great number of teachers with their meager budgets either.

          These allotments are in direct contradiction to the deals made in the Treaties to provide those services in order for Canada to share in the land, resources and the profits from them.

          The chronic under-funding for FNs also includes needs for band infrastructure, housing, health care, and any number of the other points.. This has been reported time and time again by the Cdn. Auditor General’s office, but it seems very few care to listen or understand. Too few are aware that the Indian Act of 1876 is still very much in force today with the same disregard being given to the Treaties. We can only hope that the SCOC will continue to review the intent of the Treaties and continue to help make things right.

    • That comment that was posted was racist and un-necessary. The residential schools were a horrible place where children were pulled from their culture, abused, and in some cases, killed. The government should do do something, however, to compare and make jokes about the residential schools is really mean. First nations are still reeling with these events and I am sorry, however, this is not a subject that should be taken lightly and laughed about.

  8. This story implies Vancouver has no racism issues … but wasn’t Pickton a white person from Vancouver? A very poorly written article!

    • Oh well…Pickton….that makes all the difference and solves everything.

      • Solves as much as this article!

      • EMILYONE……..stop trolling the comments section. You continuously point out that the comments of others do nothing to further “ending racism in Winnipeg” yet your comments are equally unproductive. Since your views clearly align with the author of the article, perhaps you could actually put forth some valuable input instead of spewing nonsense.

  9. I love how these studies examine how only white people can be racist. They only briefly mention how most of the violence is done by one aboriginal to another. They’ll never run stories about how a white person who had nothing to do with colonialism or residential schools will be told by FN to go back to Europe. Or maybe my half-asian co-worker who was beaten by a group of native kids and had his jacket taken off in -30c while they laughed about how they “gave the white boy a good s**t kicking.”

    How about the free admission aboriginals get to the tax payer funded (more like extorted) human rights museum? What’s supposed to be a symbol of equality gives free admission based on race?

    Oh right only white people can be racist, my bad.

    • You clearly missed the first day of White School, when you learn all about White Privilege and how easy life is going to be because you’re white. (sarcasm)

    • True racism is a combination of power and prejudice. We white people wield the most power in this society so our prejudices have a negative impact on the lives of racial minorities. Racial minorities have no institutional power (government, policing, etc.) so any derogatory comments they aim at us are inconsequential. We may feel insulted but it causes no harm.

      • LOL so because I’m white I have special powers in society? I disagree, I don’t have any special tax exemptions or business grants or free university and I don’t get a bunch of free money when I turn 18 either.

        I don’t understand you white guilt apologists, so you’re saying if they act racist towards whites or any other race it’s “inconsequential” but if whites hold any prejudices than it’s time to write a big article and paint them all with the same brush? Couldn’t this article say “aboriginals may feel insulted but it causes no harm” Oh wait then that would mean accepting responsibility for your own actions and thus less free handouts and nobody to blame indefinitely.

        • Trevor, what sort of reaction do you get when you imagine virtually every police officer, fire fighter, judge, corporate manager, movie star, and even Santa or Jesus as a Aboriginal or black person? What does that do to your sensibilities?
          Do you ever have to think twice about how you will be treated by an officer if you are stopped in traffic? Do you ever fear that if you are caught with say a joint, that you will go to jail for years instead of getting off with a warning or maybe short probation? These are just a very few examples of some of the disparities that occur simply because of race. It doesn’t mean that you get ‘the easy’ life because you are white, it means you get to suffer a whole lot less in myriad ways.

          • http://lss.bc.ca/elan/May_10/aboriginalLegalServicesGladue.htm

            The fact is that if arrested and tried in court on a charge as you described (smoking a joint), a person who self-identifies in Canada as aboriginal will likely serve less time or no time because FN are over-represented in Canadian jails. Therefore, people who self-identify as aboriginal have something called ‘Gladue Rights’. The judge takes into account that they are aboriginal and tries NOT to give them jail time.

          • How do you feel when justice is supposed to be blind but somebody with a certain skin colour gets a more lenient prison sentence in our already broken justice system? How would you feel if you’re tired of being ripped off by a corrupt government and seeing preferential treatment given to one particular race, and every time you try to speak up about it you’re labelled a racist, or dismissed because the British or French colonized the whole planet a long time ago, even if you’re not of either heritage? What if you wanted everybody to be truly equal for once?

            To answer your question I wouldn’t be bothered if any of the above were non-white, most of my co-workers and friends and even my spouse are non-whites, we all get along perfectly fine because we don’t have entitlement issues and work towards our goals.

        • wait! we get money when we turn 18?? tell me where and how..i missed out..and so did my kids..oh yes maybe i should get back all the tax i paid from my paychecks too..and how about my property taxes ..i should get that back too since i am aboriginal..maybe i should get back all the money i paid for my house for 25 years from my paychecks since i am supposed to get free housing..i got refused funding for school for my children and paid that myself..never got a cent back..people should check into stuff before they write it ..we are just like the rest of the world when we chose to live OFF THE REZ and work…i am tax exempt when on the rez ..besides i dont know why ppl get upset to the fact that these “FREE” handouts we supposedly all get were written up by the europeans ..the forefathers to this great country of ours…i guess they never thought that in 100 years or so some of us would get educated and have jobs and thrive…i even had an income tax person refuse to do my income tax because she believed that i didn’t have to file since i am aboriginal i pay no tax..lol…if u want to know about what we actually get for “free” ..ask an indian


      • Our guilt over our “white privilege” and our fear over being labelled racist has stopped many Canadians from examining the issues raised in this article and recognizing some hard truths. The 15 year old girl who met with tragedy could easily have been white or come from another culture. In Canada, many 15 year old girls and boys become emancipated from their parents/guardians and leave home ending up as prostitutes in big cities. We might hear that certain agencies have failed them but there is always some onus put on their families to accept responsibility to raise them to adulthood. Yet when it comes to first nations families, we of “white privilege” express our guilt because decades ago there were residential schools and so now we can have no expectations of our first nations people.
        Meanwhile, we have immigrants who are new to our country that have survived sexual assault, murder of their families and starvation in war-torn countries and we don’t feel the guilt of “white privilege toward them.” We expect that they will adapt to a completely new culture even if they have to learn a new language and work themselves to exhaustion.

        • Gage, guilt isn’t the objective. It’s about understanding that past injustices have had a profound effect on Aboriginal people and has led to many of the difficulties they face today.

          Some immigrants have experienced hardships but once they are here, they’re free from the oppression they experienced overseas. Their lives aren’t ruled by the Indian Act which pretty much everyone agrees is racist. First Nations people are forced to live with it and be reminded constantly by racists that everything is their own fault and it’s their job to fix it.

          As for your earlier comment about Gladue, judges are supposed to avoid jail sentences whenever possible for all people convicted of crimes, not just Aboriginal people. However, it turned out that judges tended to send Aboriginal people to jail more often than white people so Gladue was enacted to strongly remind judges not to overlook the circumstances that may have led an Aboriginal person to commit a crime.

          • I believe what you are describing are mitigating circumstances….considering reasons why so many FN aren’t raising their own children and why so many of their children are born with FAS; why so many are huffing solvents, why their suicide rate is so much higher than the national average..even in the rich bands in Alberta.
            At this point, we have become overwhelmed with considering the mitigating circumstances. It is time to act and look at private ownership of land for each FN person. It is time to look at moving reservations that are in places where the land cannot sustain the people and there are no employment opportunities or education opportunities for their youth.

          • Gage, white people telling them what they need isn’t the answer. That’s perpetuating colonialism and it’s been a disaster from day one.


      • This one is for Auntie Alias…Things aren’t working out well and we are being called racist but we dare not suggest solutions because that reeks of colonialism. So tell me what is the answer?

  10. It’s true. The racism in Winnipeg is high (and frankly embarrassing)… but this article is a one sided. If 33% of Prairie residents think that the stereotypes are true – then examine that! If aboriginal crime tends to be toward eachother – let’s look at that too. There is something underlying all of this hatred, and it’s not Louis Riel – it comes from people who live amongst each other – who police and teach and work on reserves.

    You should also check your facts on the median Winnipeg income. It’s closer to $70K or $75K/year, which actually makes the divide worse. And the reason reserves can’t get teachers, is not the pay – it’s the danger.

    Inspite of all of that, we have wonderful programs designed to help aboriginals, like Lite. And 66% of the population who don’t believe the stereotypes.

    • I heard a native yesterday say he dint like crackers with his soup,what he really ment was he hates white people and they should pay for his mean,typicall red racist.

      • What, this makes no sense. Some people just don’t enjoy crackers in their soup. ?

  11. Strange article on racism . It seems to be able to assign full blame to innocent people that they do not even know. Each point in the article blames white people and then a few paragraphs down the perpetrators turn out to be Indians. An Indian who murders and abuses his own people seems to be the problem . He is in jail for what is a hate crimes against Indians . Yet ,once again , white people are blamed for the Indians being in jail.The dots seem to be there, but no one ,on the enablers side seems to be able to connect them.

    • They cant blame anyone but us white people,cause that would mean they have to take account for thier own actions and that is not P.C so that would be racist,welcome to Canada

  12. This is sensationalism at it’s worst. Allow me to deconstruct the author’s narrative that Winnipeg is the most racist city in Canada. But before that, I have to state first that I 100% agree that racism against aboriginals is a problem in Winnipeg. Maybe even more so than most cities as we have one of the largest populations of aboriginals in the country. This doesn’t mean we are one of the most racist cities in Canada. Far from it and I can prove it.


    Direct your attention to charts 3 & 4. Notice how Winnipeg/Manitoba is well below the national average for reported hate crimes? Heck, Manitoba was even the most improved out of all cities when this data was taken in 2012 (latest available on stats Canada).

    “The largest declines in the number of police-reported hate crimes were in Manitoba (13 fewer incidents) and British Columbia (11 fewer). Prince Edward Island (-8), Saskatchewan (-6) and the Northwest Territories (-4) also reported declines.”

    The title to the most racist city goes to Hamilton while Ontario hold the distinct “honour” of being the most racist province.

    Please change the title of this headline as it is misleading and factually incorrect. Failure to do so will result in a complete loss of integrity and confidence I have in Macleans as a respectable news outlet. This sensationalized headline does nothing to promote awareness towards racism and only serves to besmirch the city of Winnipeg and its citizens.

  13. As an average WHITE person living in Winnipeg most of my life I am very, very offended in regards to this story! I am not a racist! This story just grouped all white people in Winnipeg together and stated we are all racists! We are not! Aboriginals have the right to call the racist card but we can’t! Isn’t that a double standard! You bet’cha! I was brought up to treat everyone as you except to be treated! I have always treated everyone in Winnipeg as an equal! A person, a fellow Canadian. However, when you hear about the young children that have been mistreated and then you hear about their upbringing you do blame the parents, any parents. They are responsible for their children that they bring into the world! It doesn’t matter if they are white, black or aboriginal. They are people!!! When the aboriginal people state that they want further inquires in regards to the” aboriginal teenage girls being murdered.” It should state ” all teenage girls being murdered.” It sounds to me that these people are racist! So please do not group all whites together! I don’t group all aboriginals together!

    • “So please do not group all whites together!”

      Yes, please! I don’t want to associate with people who ignore the catastrophic effects of colonialism and the residential schools in favour of blaming Aboriginal people for their own problems.

      • And I don’t want to associate with extreme-left white guilt apologists who will foolishly accept responsibility for issues that have absolutely nothing to do with race, while willfully embracing racist policies by our government that give more tax exemptions, free university, business grants, not to mention free admission to the biggest waste of tax payers dollars ever – the human rights museum.

        • Cool. Then I guess we won’t be bumping elbows at the museum any time soon.

        • Don’t forget job preference for Govt civic jobs, MB Hydro jobs, free hunting fishing 365/yr without limits, housing priority for families with 5 children or more, welfare incentives for children – quite the vicious cycle with little incentive to change…It’s the special treatment that pisses people off. That and seeing no responsibility taken in the native community. Launch an inquiry, block the highway, disturb traffic & businesses with protests, we demand, we demand, we demand….And every time they don’t receive the response (or $$$) they desire – time to play the race card. Blame, blame, blame. Oh, and the writer is a hack.

          • Special treatment? Well, here’s where the point of education being critical for Cdns is illustrated. Standing up and pushing back on 150 years of racist-based oppression takes whatever method it needs to save a culture, the land and the resources. Are you not aware that the 1876 Indian Act is still in effect today?

            I would suggest that you read what that Indian Act was, and is, about to check your pissed off attitude and see if you or any other Canadian wouldn’t be a little more pissed off if they were made to live under the same regulations. For instance, I take it, you can write a will without getting it government approval first? Or maybe your family was able to grow whatever crops they wanted on their lands, without government approval? I take it you and/or your children receive education funding that happens to be at a rate per student of nearly twice the amount of reserve children? There was a time when education funding was non-existent – unless you count the residential schools.

            Learn about why people are doing what they are doing. It might make a world of difference in helping to make poor situations better at a faster rate.

    • As an average white person living on the prairies most of my life, I am very appreciative of this story. Many people on the prairies are extremely racist. Obviously not all people are, but many are. These people who cry “but I’m not racist” need to stop being so selfish, look at the problems at hand and start caring about the well being of all people in Canada. The problems Aboriginal people in Canada face are everyone’s problem. This article merely emphasizes that fact.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more Saskatooner… On several occasions complete strangers have come up to me to complain about the ‘native problem’ in Winnipeg. And unfortunately at times people I know as well. It’s shameful.

        Canadians are so often proud of themselves for being ‘the best country in the world’, but how did we come by this amazingly good luck? We moved onto land that wasn’t ours. Imagine if another culture invaded ‘our’ land and put us on reserves and ruined our lives and then patted themselves on the back for it and told us to contribute to their society.

        I think that education is key to a solution. Most people don’t know that schools in poor neighbourhoods get less gouvernment funding that those in middle class or rich areas. The curriculum doesn’t fit everybody’s needs and should do more to bridge the divides. We are lucky to have control over what is taught in our province. Let’s use that privilege to do some good.

        All of my greatgrandparents were born in Canada and I have no intention of moving back to Europe. I wouldn’t know which country to go to anyway. But I do know that as a Scottish/French/English/Norweigan Canadian, that I am the immigrant and that immigrants are often expected to assimilate; however, nobody has ever asked me or taught me to see things from an aboriginal perspective. I come from a long line of people who are good at making their lives in a European context. Many people in Winnipeg do not. Let’s give them a chance.

        • I want to thank you, Win A Peg, for your comment of candor, pragmatism, thoughtfulness, and understanding. It is a far too rare occurrence for me to read in these articles. I certainly appreciate your point about expectations of assimilation for immigrants as a great reference for understanding too.

  14. Thank you to everyone who has commented. This article becomes a success because ‘any’ press is good press. The best part is that we are talking about it.

  15. Excellent article. It’s the ugly truth and it needed to have a light shone on it. More importantly, Manitobans in influential positions need to acknowledge the rampant racism and denounce it. Otherwise, it allows the city’s racists to think there’s nothing wrong with their way of thinking. There’s a lot of howling about this expose here and in the Winnipeg Free Press comment section. Cue the sad trombone.

    • You are a troll – nothing more. “Rampant racism”? wow. I have read all your comments and you bring nothing to the table. No well thought out arguements or statistics to back up your views – just a lot of denouncing those with a different view. You are also very generous with your praise for this hatchet one-sided job of hack journalism – ergo,I’m thinking you are the author. Time to fess up.

  16. As a Winnipegger and also coincidentally a Kelvin graduate it seems to me that the writer has simplified a great deal in calling attention to this crucial problem. And yes, it is a huge problem that must be dealt with. The writer gets that much correct, at least.
    However, there seem to be many errors in the article. For example: not all Winnipeggers ‘of note’ share my alma mater as the writer states above. How insulting to reduce an entire city to one high school, especially in an article concerned with Aboriginal people. Indeed, relatively few Aboriginals attend or graduate from Kelvin compared to certain other schools (like Sisler, Tec Voc, R.B. Russell, Children of the Earth, St. Johns, etc.). Given this I wonder if the writer would judge there to be any Aboriginals ‘of note’ from Winnipeg at all? Who is the racist here? Or is the suggestion that Winnipeg is so backward that no Aboriginals are able to gain prominence outside of Winnipeg? It is hard to tell what the writer is trying to say concerning this.
    Perhaps the writer has never heard of the actor Adam Beach, or the hard-working inner city politician Kevin Chief.
    Furthermore, the much-maligned North End itself is not, as implied, only Aboriginal by a long shot. Many Asians, black people, and yes, whites live there.
    The neighbourhoods immediately south of it are by no means ‘idyllic’ and ‘tree-lined’, but much the same. And the North End actually has its own far wealthier suburbs as such, to the north and west. To get to the areas described by the writer as ‘idyllic’, you need to cross the Assiniboine as well as the Slaw Rebchuk or Arlington Street Bridge.
    I also wonder if Vancouver, with its East Hastings stretch of poverty and drug addiction is really ever so much more progressive. But it’s good that they apparently thank the original coastal people at every turn. I mean, there are no reserves there, either. Nor is there a colonial history, right.

    • Andrew, I also went to Kelvin, live in Winnipeg but also lived in Vancouver though that was years ago.
      While I totally agree with how baseless this article is I am sorry but Vancouver is much more progressive and much less racist than here in the Peg ( I never experinced it while lving in Vancouver.) Perhaps you were unaware thet Vancouver does have an urban reserve inside city limits called Musqueam, also Downtown eastside is less violent than parts of the west end and North end for the average passerby, that is not to say it is not violent. I was “rolled” for the first time in my life by 3 aboriginal men in the west end of Wpg a few years back, but I never once felt uncomfortable walking anywhere in Vancouver( I am not aboriginal by descent ) Racist cities by my estimate exist many places, mainly in the southern US – that sort of deep seated racism I witnesssed in less than 3 hours in Memphis Tenessee by a police officer -which shocked me.

      • Fair enough, having lived there you know Vancouver better than me.
        On the other hand, I have seen the East Side Hastings part of Van. and it isn’t so pretty at all. Sorry about you getting robbed in the West End of Winnipeg (which according to the writer doesn’t exist or have any Aboriginals living in it. Nor does Elmwood, Weston or anywhere else). Did you walk around Hastings at all? Just wondering.
        I’ve been in the southern states too, had to get escorted by police to our cars from a church in downtown Birmingham Alabama after an afternoon wedding. There is crime and poverty in lots of places, that’s for sure anyway.
        I just really feel this kind of sensational article doesn’t help. If you read it closely, it puts down Winnipeg as an exceptionally backward place, and the Aboriginal people here as well. Mainly because the writer doesn’t bring up a single positive story or anecdote, of which there are actually quite a few.
        There are lots of people of note from here, but Maclean’s has no idea who they are.

  17. I am a minor hockey referee, and I have had the opportunity on several occasions to officiate the specific team mentioned in this article, along with a few others that are primarily composed of Indigenous players. Both opposing players and coaches are absolutely respectful towards these teams, but it would obviously be naive to think that all parents are as respectful. However, the racist comments that I personally have heard, have been directed towards me, a young white male, by the Indigenous teams. It is almost certain that I will be accused of being a racist, simply if I call a penalty against them. What I have witnessed many times, is the fans and coaches of the Indigenous teams perpetuating racial stereotypes, not the other way around. The fact of the matter is that these teams are more prone to violence on the ice than the teams they face. Most likely, this is a result of violent behavior being ignored or encouraged in the home life of the players. I have even overheard a comment from a coach of an Indigenous team instructing his players to “take that f***ing white boy’s head off.” That particular coach was immediately ejected and given a corresponding penalty, but he insisted that it was me who was being racist. I hold no prejudices against Indigenous peoples, and I am a proud Manitoban. This article is clearly biased, and I expect more than hyperbolic, yellow journalism from a respected institution such as Macleans.

  18. We signed those treaties with the people who owned the land – our landlords. When is it ok to stop paying rent? When is it ok to pretend that we aren’t obligated to abide by those treaties, even while we enforce our treaties with other nations? When is it ok to alter a contract without agreement from the other side? When it’s racism; plain and simple.

    Every time someone claims that our obligations are handouts for someone else, that person is violating the principle of the rule of law. That’s the principle that says rulers can’t arbitrarily do as they please – the one that’s lacking in parts of the world where you don’t want to live. The only motivation for pretending that the law doesn’t apply to you, ever, is selfishness. And there is nothing about it that isn’t ugly.

    If you think you deserve better than what your ancestors agreed to, then you can step up and negotiate a change. Not arbitrarily impose it just because “your” people now outnumber “their” people. In the meantime, quit your fkn whining. And yes, I’m talking to YOU, whitey. And I AM white. My ancestors have been on this continent since the 1730s, and as far as my sister was able to determine, we have no one who is non-white anywhere in the family tree. But I know the difference between what I’m _entitled_ to and what I _owe_.

    Pretending that we aren’t obligated to find solutions for the problems WE created – from moving natives onto land that had no value so we didn’t have to “share”, to residential schools we staffed with scum who couldn’t get a job among white people, to every other aspect of legislated cultural destruction that resulted in destroyed families and destroyed children who became incompetent parents – is even more selfish, petty, and self-centered than pretending that the treaties are “ancient history”. And yes; it’s just as racist as white Americans pretending that, just because slavery is no longer legal, they don’t have any obligation to repair the damage that slavery did.

    I’m not saying “throw money at the problem” which is all the racists (and those who just whine about anything that isn’t in their favour) always seem to think taking responsibility means. What it _actually_ means is “taking responsibility”. Quit blame throwing. Quit victim blaming in particular. Find solutions – JOINTLY – that work, and implement them. This isn’t rocket science – it is, in fact, very much harder than rocket science. So quit expecting quick fixes, too. But you can’t get to the moon without a rocket; and you can’t fix the problem by pretending it doesn’t belong to YOU.

    • So offer some solutions then! All you’re saying is that I need to feel bad because I’m white

      • My suggestions would be:

        1. Read up on Aboriginal history, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the treaties. Find out how they were screwed over in signing the treaties, with the Indian Act, and the residential schools.

        2. Go to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission website and read about the history and experiences of the students.

        3. Treat the Aboriginal people you encounter like actual human beings deserving of the same respect you give others.

        4. Call out other people for their racist comments.

        This is our problem (we non-aboriginal people) to solve.

    • Why don’t you throw that same argument towards natives? It seems whenever there’s a problem there’s always somebody else to blame other than themselves. Even when their chiefs corruption becomes more transparent the default answer is “racism, residential schools, colonialism, missing and murdered women blahblahblah ie anything OTHER than my actions are wrong”

      Missing/murdered FNwomen? Everybody already knows it’s aboriginal men to blame, but oh no lets spend millions to research if there’s some evil white boogey man in the darkness snatching them up!

      The solution is for them to stop blaming others for things that happened not to them in this present day, but to their ancestors, and to stop receiving special tax privileges and sentences for crimes and to be integrated with the rest of Canada as other races do.

      As a white male I’m tired of this reverse racism being perpetrated by corrupt chiefs who want to maintain the status quo and white guilt extreme-left apologist morons. Other races have come to Canada from far worse conditions than FN and I don’t see them blaming others.

      • But other races CAME to Canada. They were motivated to make it here and they were allowed in based on what our society could handle. FNs were already here and we took over.

        It doesn’t matter who is to blame. If teenage girls are being abused, the gouvernment needs to fund a solution. When IKEA needed a new road or the Bombers needed a new stadium, there was lots of money to be found.

        Personally I’ve never experienced ‘reverse racism’. I’ve always found it easy to get a job interview, find an apartment, get good service and have my options taken seriously. Although I’m having trouble taking you seriously. Maybe I just hate white men.

  19. The city is not racist by far, 90 % of aboriginal children in foster care, could be a large part of the problem. and drive downtown late at night and you will find teenage oboriginal girls walking the streets when they should be in bed. It’s not the cops fault or the city. Stop having children if you don’t want to raise them.

    • How exactly are Aboriginal children and teenagers responsible for the racism of white people?

    • Hey your racist!!! You can’t tell me to stop having children!!! YOU’RE RACIST!!!

  20. Wow. When is #notallwinnipeggers going to start trending?
    So many people commenting here are getting so defensive. Complaining about being over generalized and judged. Do you not see the absurdity in that?
    I grew up in Winnipeg, and though I haven’t lived there for over 13 years, this article is absolutely accurate. And by dismissing it, you are part of the problem.
    No one is saying “everyone in Winnipeg is racist”. And no one is saying “only people in Winnipeg are racist”. This is a national issue that has been ignored for too long, swept under the rug while we celebrate how progressive and multicultural we are.
    Give me a break and get over yourselves.

  21. What a timely article, and while I can see why some people might take issue with this point of view, it is certainly not as fully unjust as I have been hearing in radio comments and reading in these ones. It is beyond the time for this country to be having these frank discussions and stop pretending we’re all living in some sort of pretend utopia.

    If people say the issue isn’t so deep or prevalent, then where are their voices in every publication in this country when it comes to any Indigenous stories?

    I’ve had to stop reading the comments to any stories on the Indigenous from the CBC website to the Vancouver papers, to the Winnipeg Free Press because if I didn’t know it was 2015, I might think I was in 1870. The level of ignorance about Canada’s history is disgusting, and with that comes the most incredible prejudiced biases and statements that are beyond belief. I am a strong and educated Aboriginal adult, but if any of my kids were to read any of those comments, particularly as they are written ‘daily’, it would likely break their hearts and spirits to see how they are discussed.

    I do not doubt that the lack of understanding for our history is played out daily in the treatment toward all Indigenous. I have nothing but contempt now for anyone who makes claims of ‘reverse racism’ when the oppressed peoples start to speak out and stand up for themselves. There is no such thing as reverse racism. Study the history of the terms white default and white privilege and then come back and tell us how oppressed you are as white European descendants.

    Hurray to MacLeans for having the guts to put it all out there. The CBC, our ‘national’ representation, with an actual Aboriginal section sure doesn’t. They won’t even allow comments of documented fact to pass by their ‘moderators’ if it contrasts too much with the need to raise controversy for ratings.

    • No one is pretending to live in Shangri La, people are concerned with the authors lack of scientific methodology before landing on Winnipeg as the racism hot spot in Canada. A more valid approach would have been to target the country as a whole instead of this garbage which brings the entire articles validity into question. Some of the assumptions made in the article are just pathetic, especially using Tina Fontaine’s tragedy as the posterchild for racism in our city…

      • It’s unfortunate the author didn’t cite the Air Canada fiasco. It was a golden example of racism on which the mayor and premier refused to denounce AC. Wouldn’t want to upset a big corporation now, would we? Apparently that’s more important than the feelings of Aboriginal people in our city.

        If people sense that Tina Fontaine’s death was a watershed moment and the author made that the centre of her article, so what?

        • Because it’s a watershed moment based upon a false presumption……you seem smart enough to see this is illogical

          • More white people than ever before showed up at her vigil. Her death touched many.

            I don’t know what “false presumption” you’re talking about.

      • I wonder though, whose point of view is being represented here? If you are on the Indigenous side of the fence, I can tell you the type of methodology means crap. Tina Fontaine may be a single example for an avenue of concern, but for every person of Indigenous ancestry, there are far more examples of daily issue. We don’t really need to take a poll to discuss what we’ve encountered. As I mentioned, have a look through these comments, and then pay attention to every single story that involves Indigenous anything and you will see what we see – every day.

        The only way to begin to counter this is with actual education about what was, and why that has created what is. This is a vast subject that needs to be in every school book in the country. It’s Canada’s actual history for God’s sake, and it’s not in our own school books. The majority of Canadians are only just now learning of the whole picture of the venerated John A. MacDonald, ‘father of our country’ and drunken racist of epic proportions. There will be no real healing and moving forward until we know what we have come from.

        • So because the article represents your point of view who cares how she came to anoint Winnipeg as such…….hilarious

          • Perhaps you need to read the CBC story fully on the results of a poll of Winnipeg citizens in October 2014. 75% – an unprecedented number – of those polled said they believed there was a deep divide between in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal citizens. This is pretty revealing in itself, don’t you think?

            Now, why are so defensive about something your own fellow residents have already spoken to a mere 3 months ago?

    • I commented on the WFP for years but finally gave up in disgust. The racist commenters outnumber the non-racist ones 9 to 1. Their staff reporters do an excellent job at reporting on aboriginal issues but the editors turn around and provide a safe haven for racists to spew their venom.

      • Exactly! I’ve written countless letters to papers about this bizarre policy, but it seems to come down to producing enough emotional agitation to bring readers to the rest of their articles too.

        • I thought they were pandering to commenters of a certain political persuasion. ;)

          I’ve complained bitterly to the WFP and they won’t budge.

          • I think you absolutely have a point on certain politics! :)

  22. I have had long heated arguments with people … who are racist when it comes to aboriginals. I know some of the history over the past 100 years, losing their land, being shut up in reserves, being given no rights, residential schools and it goes on and on … but I still flinch when I walk by a poverty struck aboriginal on Portage Avenue … it is wrong and racist and I know it is but it is also instinctive based on my experiences like a reflexive start to being surprised.
    Winnipeg and all of Canada needs to find a way out of this mess the colonists have created and the starting point is education. The non-aboriginal community needs to understand the injustice that is the basis of the problem … perhaps starting with the story of the Tadoule band (and excuse me if this is not the right one) that was self-sufficient until it was moved up to Churchill, because it was easier to manage them, and where they died of exposure and alcoholism on a barren plain where there was nothing for them. They moved back after the elders who knew how to live off the land were dead. Or perhaps we should talk about the destroyed livelihoods and lives that were created by hydro developments that poisoned the rivers and lakes or perhaps even the simple government stupidity of putting sewage plants upstream from drinking water intakes.
    It took generations to create the problem and it will take generations to fix it.
    (Signed a 60 year old ex-Winnipegger who grew up in the North end and worked for Indian affairs in the early 70’s when it was going to be phased out as aboriginals were given more rights and powers to mange their own affairs.)

    • Yes, it really isn’t easy to walk or live around the consequences of long term oppression. We do need to start at the beginning for our educations. It doesn’t take long to teach or learn the basics of how trade first started in this country and how it led to the treaties, which were then twisted with the Indian Act, which then created horrific results for the Indigenous leading to the consequences we see today. It doesn’t take long to teach when and how the Indian Trust funds were set up and why. These are the very basics and they are still missing from our school books.

    • “…Tadoule band (and excuse me if this is not the right one) that was self-sufficient until it was moved up to Churchill, because it was easier to manage them, and where they died of exposure and alcoholism on a barren plain where there was nothing for them.”

      Was it the Sayisi Dene?

  23. Firstly, racism of ANY kind is totally UNACCEPTABLE in Canadian society! Maclean’s Magazine can kiss my NON-racist, white Scottish butt. What a pathetic joke of a magazine Maclean’s is. What terrible journalism. Maclean’s has proven it is nothing more than a rag, no class piece of garbage! Rogers Media should be ashamed of itself for publishing this issue. It should NOT be insulting ANY Canadian city. If Maclean’s wants to get picky then at least Manitoba hasn’t tried to introduce a racist law banning religious symbols, etc., like the previous Quebec P.Q. Gov’t did last year! I am a VERY PROUD & friendly WINNIPEGGER & Canadian. We host Folklorama each year with great pride! It attracts tourists from all over North America! We are a VERY welcoming, friendly city. I work with people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds (i.e. Phillipinos, Chinese, etc.). One of my closest friends happens to be black & from Nigeria. I am sick & tired of small-minded, ignorant journalists. I am going to think seriously of CANCELLING my Maclean’s subscription. I am going to submit these SAME comments on other media web-sites as well. Let’s see if Maclean’s has the guts to publish my comments!

    • Where are any of you guys in the Aboriginal articles in the Winnipeg Free Press or on the CBC Aboriginal section? How about any papers across the country? Where is your outrage and comments of dissent to the racist commenters who outnumber us from 9 to 1 to 20 to 1 in favor of their racism and spread of ignorant history revisions?

      Are you paying attention to the people who are the recipients of this daily denigration, or are you somewhere far more safe?

      • Perhaps the solution lies within the first nation community itself. Perhaps, just perhaps we should investigate the tolerance of rape, abuse & mistreatment of it’s girls/women on it’s reserves? No? Too much of a hot potato issue and one that the native community itself does not seem to want to tackle. Kind of seems like an important and relevant one if you ask me. And maybe some education classes regarding birth control might be in order.

        • You are describing are behavioral repercussions of long term systematic oppression. These are the direct consequences of the Indian Act, which was about forcing people into being wards of the state, and demanding oversight of their every move. It was demanding oversight of when and how they could travel even if only to go to town, demanding oversight over what they may or may not grow on their own lands, and even even if they could create a will (not without government approval). No one was allowed to create commerce on their own lands either.

          Then add to that, tearing their children from them and then subjecting those children to grotesque abuses and even death, for transgressions such as speaking their own languages. Then they throw those children as young adults back onto the reserves with no means to learn how to overcome the depths of pain and confusion they endured. These ‘wards of the state’ with no say in how they can live eventually succumb to those wounds by numbing the abuse pain and recreate said abuses in their own lives.

          Finally, while they struggle with all of that, some of the wonderful citizens around them tell them to just pull up their bootstrings and pay your taxes. Thank God, the general population is not as unthinking. We will get the education out, and we will finally get this history laid out so that the deals that were made with these people are lived up to, and the reparations required are given. That’s what we always tell other countries, is our way!

          • And in case, it’s been missed in these comments, the residential schools are not ancient history either. They all closed finally in only 1996.

    • But do you have any Aboriginal friends? (I suspect not, or you would likely be sympathetic to violence against Aboriginal people and you wouldn’t be lashing out against this article so fiercely).

      • Hi ‘Saskatooner’. Good grief! With all due respect, do YOU have any aboriginal friends yourself?! AND if you read my comments AGAIN you will NOTICE I have said that racism of ANY kind in Canada towards ANYONE is TOTALLY unacceptable! No I do not have any aboriginal friends but I do have aboriginal acquaintances. You do NOT know me & I do not know you. So do NOT judge a person until you have WALKED a mile in his/her shoes! Get rid of your superior attitude my fellow Canadian. That’s not the proper Canadian attitude. The only thing I am ‘lashing out’ at (in YOUR words) is Maclean’s magazine, NOT any specific person. Be positive & give PEACE a chance! Maclean’s AND its’ so called ‘journalist’ need to grow-up! Racism needs to be stopped. Winnipeg is a GREAT city & so are the MAJORITY of Winnipeggers!! Unfortunately, (just LIKE SASKATOON!) we have our problems just like ANY OTHER CITY in Canada!

  24. And the Canadian Journalism Award for race baiting goes to…

  25. Maclean’s magazine owes the City of Winnipeg an IMMEDIATE retraction and APOLOGY for insulting Winnipeggers!

    • Ahahahaha…. good luck.

      • AND by the way Canada, Manitobans have one of THEE BEST records of DONATIONS to Charities. There are LOTS of POSTIVE things Manitoba (& Winnipeg) have contributed and have to contribute to Canadian society & internationally! Let’s all talk to each other with respect & maturity & STOP trying to pick a fight! We are ALL Canadians & all have to share the same planet. John F. Kennedy once said “we all breath the same air”. He is right. Let’s think hard & clear BEFORE we speak. Unfortunately NO ONE is perfect.

  26. I think the problem here is that (owing to their much higher birthrate) aboriginals will soon be a majority in Winnipeg. What happens when a group who is used to self-identifying as a minority becomes the majority? When non-aboriginals (who will eventually be a minority in Winnipeg) will be taxed more and more in order to pay for the upbringing and housing of the people both on-reserve AND in the city? How about some stats about how many natives live in Winnipeg, yet do not call it home? Winnipeg is full of aboriginal part-time residents – people who are living in hotel rooms as a result of the 2011 floods, kids from the reserves in CFS care, or attending school (as Rinelle Harper) and other dispossessed in search of jobs, housing and acceptance. That is the heart of the question. If one does not invest fully (both emotionally and financially) in one’s place of residence, how can one expect to be welcomed, or to feel like part of the larger community? How can that community grow and prosper when so many of its residents are not committed to life there? Most people give back through their work, property tax contributions, and volunteer commitments. Those who do not work or pay property taxes are just not going to feel equal because they have a smaller stake. Want to feel a part of something bigger? Give of yourself.

  27. Ultimately human beings are genetically engineered with a racist disposition. It’s in our DNA to distrust something different. Acting upon these instincts is only curbed with parental guidance and finally common sense as we mature.
    As a financially stable, professional, status Indian, I have witnessed racism first hand from friends and colleagues (both above and below myself) who write off their overt and hurtful comments about Native people on the pretext they know me and are ‘joking’

  28. Racism will only improve when Aboriginal people better themselves and the Caucasian majority (especially here in Winnipeg) make a conscious effort to stop making derogatory comments in jest and learn the entire history of this great and the rolé Native people played in developing it.

  29. “Tina Fontaine’s killer has not been found. Are you really blaming this murder on white people?”

    Where did the author say that?

    • Statistically there is an 80% chance that Tina was killed by a native man. Let’s look at that situation.

      • Oh please, this inane attempt at self pity is ridiculous work in the face of the reality of the big picture. If everything was as cut and dry and deniers of history would have it, there wouldn’t any issues of social, economic class, and racial divides.

        The reason the culture who gets pointed out as blame for the denigration and downfall of other cultures is because that particular culture is, in fact, responsible for the the denigration and downfall of other cultures. The descendants of those people who still have their head in the sand, need a good swift kick to the surface for a fresh breath of reality.

        • typo correction: …:was as cut and dry and deniers of history” should have read as …”was as cut and dry AS deniers of history would have it, …”

        • Europeans tend to be entrepreneurial and hard working. So we have stuff…and earn it. We can handle the online hate. We will just go and spend some money on ourselves to get over it, buy nice shoes and nail polish and suchlike. There will be less of our comments on these funny little forums because we are doing more important things, like driving around yelling things out of the window of our expensive cars at people lower than us. Going to tanning salons so that our skin is more orange. That’s how we do.

          • Thank you, for the much needed moment of lightness in such a heavy subject.

          • Careful – The Irish tend to burn due to the lighter and more reddish pigment in their epidural layers.

        • I agree aboriginals are in fact responsible for the never-ending inane attempt at self pity, as well as the downfall of their own culture, and their descendants have their head in the sand and need a good swift kick to the surface for a fresh breath of reality. Good point indeed, no more finger pointing at people who had nothing to do with what happened centuries ago.

    • Oh come off it, Auntie Alias! By not mentioning ANYWHERE in this article that most Winnipeg murders are Aboriginal on Aboriginal, it is IMPLIED that the murderer is a white man.

  30. The murder of Tina Fontaine has nothing to do with racism. They haven’t been any indications during the investigation that the murder was an act of racism. They have not yet found who did it; the murderer could have been Aboriginal, white, black or any other ethnicity.

    That’s not to say that our city does not have racial issues; we certainly do, however I have an issue with someone from Toronto, someone who has not lived in Winnipeg, sitting on their high horse and pointing at us saying “Winnipeg is the worst”. Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, all other major cities in Canada have racial issues too.

    This article is nothing more than irresponsible journalism.

    • You are missing the forest for the trees. Tina’s murder is being used as emblematic of a huge problem with missing and murdered aboriginal women. Any individual circumstance can vary, but in the big picture, the massive and disproportionate number of Native girls who meet this fate is indicative of a big racially-based problem. The point is not that “whites kill natives” but that due to a variety of historical, societal and economic wrongs, this situation exists for a certain group.

      • The solve rate for Aboriginal missing cases is 90% compared to 91%. WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH RACISM?

  31. This article is at once useless and uninteresting — and really serves only to carry on the tradition of political correctness in analysis of the Winnipeg aboriginal situation — in lieu of any honest analysis with the goal of clarity and perhaps some sort of progress in the future.

    I am a white man who lived the first 35 years of my life in Winnipeg. I called home both the North End and downtown. White Winnipeggers, on the whole, are a friendly, pragmatic, bunch..many espousing common views of decency and morality representative of their cultural groups — which derive in major from many parts of Eastern Europe. White Winnipeggers are also, on the whole, immensely “racist” towards aboriginals or ‘Indians’ — people have stopped carrying which term to use.

    However, as I see it, this isn’t really racism. It’s not an “ism” of any sort. It is a view that is gleaned primarily from reality, as aboriginals simply disproportionately contribute to many of the liabilities that render Winnipeggers irate. Healthcare is a big one. Guess what? Many people don’t accept treatment for teen obesity and concomitant diabetes to be an acceptable reason to mobilize our hospitals. That’s an issue of parenting….I’d say on a daily basis for 10 years 95% of the aboriginals I met on the way to work or school were heavily intoxicated and dysfunctional and were begging for change as a daily source of income. Aboriginals are simply viewed as an economic liability, without excuse. It simply seems they are privy for free to the things many of the rest of us grind at daily in an effort to care for our families.

    ‘BUT IT’S THE ENDEMIC DISCRIMINATION AND HISTORY OF EXPLOITATION.’ Well..I would say that the average Winnipegger at this point correctly thinks this is a 100% insufficient excuse…cause it really is. That was then. This is now. Keep in mind, you must consider that the then was more previous to the atrocities perpetrated against the Polish, Ukranian, and Jewish communities (highly represented in Winnipeg) by Stalin and Hitler or the various genocidal attempts against the various African cultural groups that predominantly live in the Broadway area.

    I would consider the current setup with respect to aboriginal-government policies to be described best as patronisation. If you treat normal people like children, they behave like children. I would not condone additional funding into projects that aim to unveil the magical mystery of this plight or even more practical campaigns to solve outstanding murders or missing persons cases. Keep in mind, many of the murders of aboriginal people — children –have been solved. Yes, children have been left in trash bins or storage areas to die or freeze. AND consider the suffering of the unmanageable numbers of children born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome because these mother’s could not behave with a basic a level of discretion during pregnancy(ies).

    Winnipeggers are exasperated from this situation not because they are racist, but because the situation is perceived as chronic, detrimental, and overwhelmingly unnecessary at this point in history.

    • So Aboriginal people make whites racist? No, no, no. Blaming the targets of racism is a classic tactic to excuse racism. In fact, you’ve hit on all the tried and true forms of denial. It’s in the past! Others had it worse! Look at the violence!

      No one MAKES you irate; that’s a feeling you choose to have. This Winnipegger isn’t irate or impatient. Maybe it’s because I took the time to educate myself about Canadian history. You clearly haven’t.

      • No one makes them pick up the bottle or gasoline rag, that’s a feeling they choose to have. They didn’t endure the residential schools, only a small percent of their ancestors did, and that was a long time ago.

        I know Sierra Leone and Vietnamese refugees who’ve seen their own family slaughtered and raped before them, they’re not abusing drugs and alcohol while blaming their aggressors for everything.

        It really just comes down to money, to maintain the status quo means the money keeps coming both for lazy entitled leeches of the state, as well as their corrupt Chiefs who steal millions of tax-free dollars meant for their people.

        We’re not racist, we’re just tired of seeing one race get preferential treatment and unconditional tax-free money over everybody else. We want equality, the current system is in itself racist towards anybody non-aboriginal.

        • Pity there’s no mechanism to flag comments. Yours is appalling, Trevor.

          • Oh right anyone who doesn’t agree with your white guilt apologist bs is racist, I forgot. Lets just waste tax payers dollars until the end of civilization because that’s the price of “healing.”

            I never said I want FN to suffer, I want equality, I want the racist white bashing to stop because of British/French colonialism that happened centuries ago.

          • Trevor, you’re a victim in your own mind.

            I guess the fact that Canada is prosperous after defrauding the original inhabitants out of their land and its resources doesn’t figure into your calculations about who owes who money.

          • auntie alias “who owes who money”….Given their free university, no income taxes, free housing, hydro payouts and so on and so on….I’d say that debt has been paid and then some…don’t you.. Time for native leaders to lead and encourage their people to get jobs…and it’s time for the rest of Canada to stop discriminating against natives in their hiring…

        • Trevor, wow!
          150000 people in residential schools is not a small percentage.
          So making derogatory comments about Native people is not racist? Either your parents didn’t love you or were mean spirited bigots themselves or you have a depressing existence and your awful words are a byproduct of that life.
          Take a history lesson or actually do some research on the relationship between Canada and its indigenous people from the time Christopher Columbus started calling my people ‘indians’ all the way up to today you ignorant person.

          • Nope, I’m just a normal byproduct of Winnipeg, contrary to what you believe our education system drills into our heads very well the history of aboriginals and the residential school system. And thank god I need to know why I’m being treated unequally and experience racism from natives even though I’m not British or French and had absolutely nothing to do with their ancestors.

            But it’s ok I can have my my car broken into 5 times a year or take my beaten friend to the hospital while natives laughed at how they gave the “white boy a good s**t kicking” even though he’s half-asian. I can get harassed downtown by guys who reek like gasoline or offered services by a 12 year old girl who should be in school.

            Oh wait I can’t even talk about the above because then that’d make me racist right? Cause only white people are capable of racism according to you and Macleans and CBC white guilt apologist garbage. Tina Fontaine’s killer hasn’t even been identified and these cheap hype outlets are already stirring the racism pot. If you’re an underage prostitute with no stable home and into drugs, you lead a high-risk lifestyle, no matter your race. Racism has absolutely nothing to do with dead/missing aboriginal women, it’s just the latest headline to extort taxpayers into paying for “inquiries” and “programs” that do nothing except line NDP and Chiefs wallets.

            The population of Winnipeg has been the same pretty stagnant since the 80s, yet the aboriginal population has exploded, that tells me most non-aboriginals (including myself) have moved away, yet NDP spending and taxes keep rising. Eventually this healing process and refusing to take responsibility for ones owns actions will be unaffordable. If my buddies from war struck Sierra Leone and Vietnam can build a life why not FN?

        • Trevor Manning is making more sense here than anyone. It’s far too easy to play the race card these days when the issue has nothing to do with the color of one’s skin. Look at the statistics and numbers – they don’t lie and neither does Manning. Auntie Alias needs to get back under the fantasy bridge they live under. I have compassion and I have sympathy for those truly in need but I am not stupid – I have lived in Winnipeg for over 40 years and know what is happening. Put down your dream catcher and face the real problems that are the cause and stop blaming others for your station in life.

      • Yes, Natives and their behaviour and high rates of violent crime are making other groups – and even Natives themselves – not want to associate with them. YES, that is why. People don’t want to be around violence.

      • You’re blaming this all on white people, Auntie Alias. How does that make YOU any better?

    • Absolute diatribe Allan R. Useless and uninteresting? The article seems to have people talking at a National level don’t you think? And in 10 years 19 out of every 20 aboriginal people you came across were intoxicated or dysfunctional? That comment doesn’t deserve to be dignified with a response.
      HISTORY OF EXPLOITATION? You should take the time to get your nose out of a thesaurus or dictionary and actually learn the history of Canada and it’s treatment of its indigenous people. There is a vicious cycle within Aboriginal people directly related to being forced onto useless, barren lands with few resources and the attempt at assimilation by being forced to attend residential schools where they faced abuse of an emotional, physical and sexual nature. Reversing this doesn’t happen in a single generation.
      What doesn’t help is the ambivalent and mostly derogatory thinking of people such as yourself and that it is even remotely acceptable.
      It’s simple, systemically, conditions relating to education and cultural identity need to improve on reserves and people on perches as high as the one you currently sit on need to learn some history.

      • Allan and Trevor Manning are surely plants fro Maclean’s because they illustrate to a TEE the self-justified racism endemic in Manitoba. It’s disgusting, but it’s also the reality, and I thank them (if they are real) for coming out to show their true colours.

        • Sadly, they are merely two of the countless posters in all stories about the Indigenous who mirror the same denigrating talking points. There are groups of them who make it a full time job to sit on all the publication comment sites and talk the culture(s) into the ground every single day. I consider this story a Godsend because at least this issue is getting some light thrown onto it and maybe more people will start paying attention to what is thrown at Aboriginals this often and horribly.

  32. Any chance “our smiling lefty premiers” could take a little heat on this. Doubt it, not from where this story is coming from.

  33. I hate to nitpick but some of the claims about Winnipeg are strange. One in two Manitobans has aboriginal blood? Really? And the North End may is not predominantly Native. More First Nations might live in the North End, but overall it is not a majority aboriginal community.

  34. Okay Madame, you have drawn the ire of the townsfolk. So, what is the path to take to solve it? As usual an article that barks but has no clicker for training. So money is not the answer. If the aboriginal population in Winnipeg is so dysfunctional and social services cannot fix it then, what? It goes back to “Doctor heal thy self” methodologies.

    The problems for our missing aboriginal women start at home. Young women in “protective” households are lectured on the dangers of the stranger, that good girls don’t go a-drinking and a-wandering. If the household that these young women are born into and raised in is not a place of safety, then where do they go? Notice the age that young women are getting pregnant, raped and murdered. 13 – 17 years of age. Where is mom and dad? Why is dad in jail or unknown? Why is mom not emotionally or physically available? Am I a racist for looking at what the statistics are saying? If I cannot as a Winnipeger, look at the two year old child in a diaper walking alone on my street in fall with no shoes and no shirt and say something to the mother like “WTF?” about that little baby because she is browner then I, then we are doomed. Note that this same household on a different day and there is fight in the front yard. A young woman is being yelled at and hit by a larger, aggressive, older male. I called the cops and went in my yard yelling at him to stop slapping her. I walked right up to that house and told them to leave her alone. All my other neighbours came out too. Am I a racist because I noticed that the people were aboriginal and noted that to police so they could find the young woman and make sure she was okay?

    Someone answer the question of when is it okay for a non-aboriginal person to say Hi and not get stink-eye? When is it okay to say something to you or your kids when I see your unsupervised child(ren) going into a neighbour’s yard and taking apples only to splatter them on the sidewalk and making a mess and not be labeled a racist? If we are going to be a community there is a certain level of respect that is needed and certain level of understanding that we are looking out for each other, our families and our street because if the people on my street don’t look out for each other, who will? Don’t be afraid of me. I am not the white devil boogey-man. I want to be friends. I want to be able to smile and talk to your little ones when they play and know their names so if they fall down by my house I can comfort them and get them home to you safe.

  35. “This is the reality SOME people face in Winnipeg.”- Ms MacDonald

    Please put your experience in context & don’t brand the WHOLE city as racist.

    You look uncomfortable in the interview because you know you wrote a very one sided article based upon one week in Winnipeg speaking ONLY with aboriginal people.
    If you had only spoke with ‘white’ people, your article wouldn’t have received any attention & would be viewed as biased. It works both ways.
    Be fair & report the whole story not just the words of a few.

    Racists exist in Winnipeg……just like everywhere else in the world.
    Don’t brush everyone with your, Ms MacDonald’s racist brush.
    You gave a biased opinion piece, how is that fair?!
    Maybe you are racist yourself & pushing your own agenda rather than looking for the truth.

    • Why so defensive? The author didn’t brand every non-aboriginal person in the city as racist.
      (You don’t need to answer. The reason is self-evident.)

      • Oh, come off it!!! Stop it! The author is doing exactly that.

        • Thanks Charlie for backing me up.

      • I am defensive because I am deeply offended. I have the right to defend my city from being unfairly labelled ‘the most racist city’. Why should the actions of a few be used to label a city where the majority of people care about others & abhor racism.
        Your comment, ‘Auntie Alias’ is rude. To say ‘the reason is self evident’ …..is that a racist comment?!!
        If you are against racism, then seriously think about your words. I have a right to express my view without being unfairly attacked.

        • So, why would defending the city require dismissing the racism issue entirely? That sure doesn’t add up either.

  36. “Kelvin High School, long considered among the city’s progressive schools—alma mater to just about every Winipegger of note, from Marshall McLuhan to Izzy Asper, Fred Penner and Neil Young.

    Guess no research was done on notable WinNipeggers and proofreading an article prior to publishing is no longer necessary

    • Yeah, no kidding.
      She sets Kelvin (and Winnipeg) up with that bogus comment only to make us fall harder with the Brad Badiuk stuff. Not fair reporting.
      Also…little mention of notable aboriginal Winnipeggers except for the negative examples she uses- eg. glue sniffer, victims of crime (and no, we don’t know Tina Fontaine was murdered by a white person). Even the Falcon-Ouellette and Bowman stories come across with a negative spin, when they should both actually be positive, success stories.

      • Selective “journalism” (cough cough) at it’s finest…

  37. I’m not white. I’m a legal immigration living in Winnipeg for more than 10 years. I’m not get to vote, so I don’t care politics. But I have to admit that Winnipegger or white Winnipegger is not racist (at least majority of them not). Winnipegger’s has been tagged by this writer.
    I don’t like indigenous community in Winnipeg because what they are doing, not because I’m educated so. When I first come to Canada, I saw all kinds of people in University except first nations. Then, I start to work minimum wage jobs to help myself during my education; I saw all kinds of people working in fast food, restaurant, pizza/paper delivery except first nations. After I graduate, working in a professional field, I saw all kinds of people working in those fields except first nations. I saw indigenous people hanging around everywhere in the city. I asked myself where these people go, where they got money for living. Is that how I got educated to be racist even I never live with other races before I was turn 18 years old? I doubt so.
    I’ve been in Vancouver, Toronto, Montréal and US, the first nation does not look like those guys on Winnipeg street. I ‘m not raised in Canada and I don’t know all the backgrounds and history. Just from a hard working, taxpaying new immigrant point of view, is this a Prairie’s first nation community itself problem? I just state what I experienced in Winnipeg. I’m not representing anyone else. Of course anyone in here can educate me with their knowledge, but I don’t see a change will happen in this generation. Even, the government start to do the right thing now (not sure what the right thing is), it will take couple decade at least to change the view of people.

    • Thank you for your unbiased but educated opinion. I agree 100%. Winnipeg people are great folks who work hard to make a living – yourself included. We are a melting pot of different nationalities and the city is truly a diverse culture which makes it better…Not all Indians indigenous to North America or Canada are what you and I experience here in Winnipeg. Many aboriginals throughout the continent are descendants of proud people and contribute and want a better life by working for it. We just got the lazy tribe who doesn’t believe in birth control. I hope I was able to be of help and clear things up for you.

  38. Well, Macleans…you sure know how to stir things up in my hometown…

    I can only say that you need to live in Winnipeg to understand the reality of this so-called “Racism”…try walking down North Main from Selkirk Av to City Hall during a typical “work” day. Or even better, after the bars close, say sometime after a certain day near the end of the month. Or just read the newspaper or surf the Winnipeg news websites to see exactly where the murders are taking place, who is assaulting whom, where the infant children are being abused or abandoned. This is what we see every day…it is an oblivious person indeed that can ignore the evidence in front of their eyes.

    “We value dogs more than we do these women,” said indigenous playwright Ian Ross.

    Truer words were never spoken…but not, I suspect, in the way Mr. Ross intended. First Nations men need to accept responsibility for the circumstances that put aboriginal women in harms way. No “Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Womens Inquiry” is going to compel them to be respectful of their women and support their families. A stable family environment, solid work-ethic and a degree of self-reliance could cure many of the ill’s afflicting Canada’s First Nations. A simple solution that seems to evade our hand-wringing liberals and apologists employed in the “Indian Industry”…

    • I empathize with you Mike. We see the same thing here where I live. Macleans provocative storytelling starts right in the middle, or a very narrow part of a much larger story. Autonomous segregated communities don’t work. I’m to the point where I think the governments plan is to have no plan.. Its obvious to anyone who’s close to it

    • I shouldn’t say the whole article is false, but the part about the tweets is suspect.

  39. This story is heart wrenching, and I feel for the families of the victims. This problem of marginalized aboriginal Canadians runs much deeper than what a simple federal inquiry can solve though.

    I’m white and married to an aboriginal women, we have two kids. I love them dearly. I live very close to aboriginal communities and know first hand the problems there. It’s systemic, and multi-generational. I can say with absolute certainty that the unguided application of money keeping these FN community in a constant state of welfare is one of the root causes to many of the socio-economic issues plaguing them today. The dialogue between federal and FN groups needs to be open and progressive and framework needs to drawn on specific and challenging talking points and agreed by both sides. Questions that directly examine primary negotiating points such as the integration of their way of life, which now includes all the modern day trappings of machinery, infrastructure, tools and logistical systems, and all of which require steady economic income and growth in order to sustain it. Is this achieved through segregated autonomous communities with no other source or means of achievable income? First Nation groups need to answer this honestly. Some already have, they’re the FN groups that have developed their own resources and manage their own proprietary businesses — Too often FN leader think they’re doing a great service to their people by using these tragedies to secure more program funding for their communities and become even more autonomous and more segregated from modern day society. Leave us alone could very well be the resounding message coming out of this. This way of thinking is fundamentally flawed and falls way short of the critical thinking and leadership required to get them out of the abyss they continue to fall into.

    • Aboriginals aren’t “marginalized” by anyone. They are given all of the opportunities as white people and every other race as well as a whole lot more. They are not taking the opportunities. Whose fault is that? As for multi-generational problem, each reserve is being given MILLIONS of dollars. WHOSE FAULT IS IT THAT NOTHING PRODUCTIVE IS BEING DONE WITH THAT MONEY?

      • You seem pretty quick to ignore history, unless of course, you are actually unaware of it. I know that’s entirely possible given the fact that we have yet to teach it in schools, across the country, in its entirety.

        The Indian Act is still in effect to this day. That Act is worth a look at because it explains a great deal about why you see the issues within the culture that was marginalized first by that Act, and then followed up systemically to this day.

        Inflict that Act to ANY culture for generations and you will see the same consequences from them too. It’s time to collectively and genuinely work to resolve that Act and those consequences. Victim blaming is a non-starter.

  40. White person here. Lived my first 30 years in Sask. & Winnipeg. I still return to visit family in Sask. There is not a visit goes by when I do not hear disparaging comments about “the Indians”. It is so ingrained they can not hear their words. In the past I would challenge & we would argue. Now at 60, I am tired. I choose my battles. I will return to my green coastal home in BC in a few days. No more disparaging comments about Indians. But those Asians! Racism is systemic. To paraphrase Tommy Douglas: Racism does not have to wear a brown shirt. Or a black shirt. It can wear a dress shirt.

    • Dennis Dale, the reason why people in BC don’t disparage Natives is because they don’t have to live near the extreme violence Natives bring everywhere they go. And in Winnipeg, people don’t complain about Asians because they don’t have to deal with the constant language barriers, because there are no Asians there. The point is, this “racism” is based on BEHAVIOUR. If these groups stopped BEHAVING in this way, this stuff wouldn’t happen. Incidentally, Asians are extremely well-integrated. They just are more likely to speak a foreign language.

  41. Does CORPORATE CANADA Prefer Limelight on ‘Race’ not Shareholders’ Dividends versus harmless NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native? CorpCan’s ‘FOREIGN’ ASSOCIATES, TERRIFIED if Native Male Political Leaders Implicated in ‘Disappearing’ Native Women’s Advocates.

    Do Native Women, et al, Have the Right to Freedom of Fear of Retribution; “DISAPPEARED” & “SUICIDE-D” Activists?

    Native Women, et al, Expectations of Freedom from Fear of Retribution in Due Diligence Info SHARING & Consultations; Deliberate,’Illegal’, &/or, Unethical DEPRIVATION of INFO Re; ‘Domestic’ & Foreign
    Treaties Basis for Suing Corp.Can. & its Global Assocs.
    Corporate Assocs. to Sue Corp.Can. for Fraud While Reopening Both Treaties to Guarantee Provisions of The WAD Accord & Transparent Negotiations to Access Natural Resources?

    HUMAN NATURE; How Cultures & Traditions can be used to explain Corruption, Info Deprivation & Bullying to Protect the Power of ‘Death-Pots’.

    The Fanning the Flames of ‘Sort of RACISM’
    Haven’t The ‘Nationalistic’ (Pre Global Economy) Corporate Canada & its Lobbied Politicians Done Rather Well via Fanning The Flames of ‘Sort of RACISM’ & Feathering Their Nest to Enable Their SHAREHOLDERS & those of Their Assocs. to SUE the harmless NON Shareholders, both; Native & non Native in the Latest ‘Foreign’ Treaties/Arrangements?

    More Political interference of RCMP Investigations ‘kills’ victims & RCMP officers’ morale.

    After reading about the fears of retaliation of the Native Canadian women at the Special House of Commons Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women, by powerful chiefs & councils for questioning & improving the chiefs/councils plans & decisions, etc., it has been suggested that it might be easier to minimize any potential for negative ‘stereo typing’ of Native chiefs & their councils by:
    1) the most vulnerable Native community members (95% – 99% of the members of Native communities),
    2) non Native funders of Native communities
    3) et al,
    by pointing out once again, but, with greater emphasis, that the most vulnerable community members, both; Native & non Native, are slowly & painfully becoming aware of the threat that is posed to the bullying, information depriving despots (Death-Pots) by way of the sharing of the relevant information, in forums that have eliminated the fear of retaliation.

    And, therefore, in regard to the recent, June 5, 2014, comments by the grand chief of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians Gordon Peters about negative ‘stereotypes’, it has also been suggested that Mr. Peters needn’t be concerned as Native & non Native Canadians have made:
    1) the distinctions between the bullying despots & the most vulnerable community members
    2) the distinctions between those chiefs & councils that want/need their community members to start getting the relevant information, including the information & questions in The WAD Accord & its Compensation
    those chiefs & councils who need to keep their community members in the dark in order to supplicate the most ‘vulnerables’ to limited beliefs & ‘hopes’
    thereby, maintain, &/or, enhance their abusive powers.

    Perhaps, Mr. Peters can take some solace in knowing that he may be able to learn more about which bullying, information depriving despots are presently being ‘de-stereotyped’.

    Some of the chiefs & councils may even graciously admit that some of the more abusive aspects of human nature are being used & rationalized by despots by claims that the abuse of their power is based upon tradition, &/or, culture that excludes the comprehension of the abuses by non Natives. Doesn’t this suggest that unless you are in the position of being able to be bullied, etc., then you are incapable of, &/or, should be prohibited from helping those who are being bullied by providing the information & safe forums for the discussion, sharing, improving information, plans, etc. before they become a decision that are acted upon & the human costs are added up? There are many examples of this ‘helping’ precedent in other human communities around the globe.

    The potential sponsors of this ‘helping process’ understand the importance of identifying, investigating, prosecuting & enforcing the prevention of the abusers from continuing their abuse. Similarly, the potential sponsors can assist the most vulnerable community members to ascertain the amount of compensation they are due for previous abuse. These sponsors who are being considered have also observed & understand that the political abuse of the RCMP is causing a great deal of morale problems within the non union service (see; Paul Palango; ‘Dispersing the Fog’). Therefore, it is for the aforementioned reasons that the potential sponsors would like to be considered to help the most vulnerable community members eliminate their fears & help the most vulnerable develop the natural resources that are accessed by way of the community’s lands. These are also the lands that have already been secretly ‘negotiated’, &/or, are in the process of being secretly ‘negotiated’ within Canada by way of the despots & without the full due diligence sharing of the information with the most vulnerable community members.

    There are several reasons why some of these foreign corporate sponsors might be considered. They are:
    1) basically, to understand & perhaps prevent bullying despots from making secret arrangements whereby,
    in exchange for:
    a) the despots’ cooperation to endorse the last minute ‘new’ &’improved’ environmental & safety standards, etc. for their projects that may be derived from the C – CI Treaty, the EU – Canada CET Agreement, the TP Partnership, et al
    b) the ‘protection’ provided by the bullies for the potential foreign participants/ investors from the most vulnerable community members,

    the potential foreign participants/investors may exclusively & secretly reward the bullies financially & thereby, further legitimize the bullies power & control by way the bullies’ mechanisms of fear.

    2) some of the potential foreign participants are as disgusted with the ‘unethical’ & ‘inhumane’ arrangements of corporate Canada & their representatives in the government of Canada as many Native & non Native Canadians, et al, are. One potential participant said:

    ‘It’s not that we are racist when it comes to dealing with Canadians,
    it’s just that we can’t stand the way that you suck up to us’.

    That is to say; while corporate Canada & its political representatives ‘suck up’ to the ‘coveted’ foreign investor, the ‘Canadians’ also ‘shi…’, uh, “purge down”. It may be regrettable that this bullying is just part of human nature?

    Our job is to identify & to minimize, &/or, eliminate it.

    Therefore, while the most vulnerable Native community members may be looking for a much ‘better’ deal that protects their rights to live & express themselves in the absence of fear, isn’t it reasonable to assume that they can also expect to start getting the aforementioned relevant information for their humble consideration, including The Compensation that is embodied in The W.A.D. Accord?

    So, does the ‘much better deal’ by way of these ‘foreign’ countries include:
    1) the elimination of the bullying by the information depriving despots,
    2) enabling the employment opportunities that can equal those non Native Canadians & then use the “better deal” to shrink the financial disparity between:
    the 95% – 99% of the communities’ most vulnerable members
    the 1% – 5% of the existing political & financial bullies, both; Native & non Native?
    3) et al.

    But, aren’t the above reasons why The W.A.D. Accord (aka; The Australian Question) was developed in the first place? That is to say, The Accord was developed in order to ensure that the most vulnerable community members are getting the relevant information & are getting the opportunity to consider, to discuss, to ask questions about it, to improve, to create alternatives, to reject, etc., the information & questions in The Accord, including The Compensation that is embodied in it?

    By way of closing, now that Mr. Peters’ concerns about negative stereotyping have been laid to rest, the most vulnerable community members, et al, might also consider some of the other areas of information that they are continuing to be deprived of that can be, &/or, are being abused by the the aforementioned bullies in order to strengthen their, the bullies’, ‘legitimacy’ besides:
    1) the on going land settlements & treaty rights negotiations,
    2) the development of Aboriginal self-governance
    3) et al?

    And, finally, how do you, the readers in North America, China, the European Union, the Trans Pacific nations, et al, think that these human nature issues can be redressed by The WAD Accord?

    I look forward to reading about your questions, your comments, your improvements, etc., regarding the above & the information listed below.


    David E.H. Smith
    – Researcher
    – “Qui tam…”
    Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 members of your family, your friends, your associates, et al, so that they can use the due diligence info to make more informed decisions about their families’ financial planning, then they can share it with 10 others…
    To SHARE Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human
    (Nature) Rights & Economics in 1) the C-CI Treaty, the CET Agreement, TPP, et al, and 2) Native Canadian Treaties via The WAD Accord
    see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com

  42. They cleverly with treaty have us over a barrel forever even after 400 yrs. we are not entitled to same status they are forever first people as a white with no property I envy the first nations they will have reserves when the rest of us get displaced by foreign interests. The minorities make us of “racism” as a card to continue advantages.The treaties guaranteed free education for example. Enough time passed and lawyers started up a gravy train to compensate them for residential schools. Now when housing averages some 5 or 700 thousand dollars they also are allowed federal money for homes [whites 20 yr mortgages]. I have no idea what spending money they get and how it would compare to whites on welfare which must resort to crime to get by. But I expect this could discourage “working”

  43. So let me get this straight, because someone who was responsible for the safety and security of a minor, who’s mother abandoned her as an infant, sends said minor to visit the mother in a major city, the young impressionable and already disadvantaged minor slips into drugs and sex and ends up dead? This could have happened to anyone of ANY colour! Race is obviously an issue and there are horrific institutional issues that adversely affect aboriginals, but this is bad parenting! What was this aunt thinking??? and they don’t even sugar coat it in the article! I sent her to see her mom because I thought she needed family??? While at the same time praying for her safety! Maybe don’t take the chance!

    • It has been well-established that residential schools ruined family life for FN. If your parents weren’t allowed to raise you the way they were raised, at what point are they going to learn to raise kids?

      • They had worse lives before residential schools. The kids were taken away from incompetent parents and would have probably been left to die had they stayed. All the more reason for white people to stop trying to save every other race. It only gets met with cries of racism and oppression so just screw it! Enough trying to help already. We only get bashed for it.

        • Without question, this comment is about as ignorant as it can get while purporting to speak about the history of another culture. That couldn’t be a more pure colonialist mentality and belief. If anyone actually buys this idea, then it’s clear that they are willfully ignoring the fact that the Indigenous lived, prospered, and built rich, complex societies for thousands of years, prior to this insane idea of rescue. It is also completely dismissive of the significant contributions the Indigenous gave to the world. There is a wealth of knowledge to be found in contradiction of these misguided statements.

    • What institutional issues face Aboriginals? I mean in the cities, not on reserves.

  44. What these Toronto intellectuals who write nonsense for triple your salary are trying to tell you low class rubes is that you’re all stupid racists, and that what happens in reserves 1000 miles from where you live is all your fault because you’re just a bunch of low-class, white racists.

    This is just stage 1, after they’ve made you feel guilty for existing, they will justify wasteful social programs funded from your tax dollars, ostensibly to help natives but really will just help get a high paying job for their Toronto intellectual friends and relatives and do nothing or harm actual natives.

    • The Toronto intellectuals must be twice as mad as you since they pay more taxes.

  45. should have published in the same issue the annual crime stats.
    the cities with the biggest crime last year was prince george regina
    and winnipeg. Alberta the samson-cree reserve is over run with native
    gangs , winnipeg native gangs everywhere.
    now is their racism of course their is. now the chinese and east indians and so on got past it and are now fairly prosperous. why not natives. well chiefs more intent on stuffing their pockets and their relatives than looking after their people

    • Hahaha, as if any of the writers of these articles want to come to grips with the fact that Natives commit the most crime.

      • edmontons own police force stats say whites commit 85 % of the crime in the city.

  46. Racism is a problem across the country. Winnipeg has sparked the discussion. Let us not conveniently default to thinking Winnipeg is the only place with such issues in Canada. Discrimination and racism can be exercised in the quietest and most civilized looking manner, in addition to actions of outright cruelty and harm… it is all racism .. and it is all harmful.

    • Tell that to Nancy and her right-wing friends at Macleans.

    • So why do people who are not white keep COMING HERE? Why do they leave THEIR OWN PEOPLE to come to Canada? The non-white population is growing in virtually every Canadian city because they have it BETTER than they do in their third world countries.

  47. I don’t deny the existence of racism in Winnipeg and that the Aboriginal population is a significant target of this ill sentiment. However, I do not think that the racially-motivated obstacles Aboriginals face are exclusive to Winnipeg. Has Ms. McDonald ever visited Regina and Saskatoon? These two communities would have served as ideal comparison groups, if Ms. McDonald had actually bothered to embark upon a well-balanced research study before arriving at her blanket statement that Winnipeg is the racism capital of Canada. The “great” racial divide is just as prevalent in those cities as it is in Winnipeg, in reference to the article’s depiction of our city’s north end. In fact, Regina’s north end (essentially the area north of Dewdney between Broad and Albert) and Saskatoon’s east end, which by the way is familiarly coined by the local non-Aboriginal population as “Alphabet Reserve”, is as much the epitome of the Aboriginal plight as Winnipeg’s north end. Not to minimize the problem in Winnipeg, but if my memory serves me correctly, in the 1990’s the Saskatoon police would engage in an initiative called the moonlight drive, whereby they would pick up intoxicated Aboriginals in the dead of winter and drop them off on the outskirts of the town. When racism rears its ugly head in public institutions, such as law enforcement, I think it takes the problem to a whole new level that not even Winnipeg could rival! I know you have deadlines Ms. McDonald, but next time you decide to diss a community, take your time and do your research properly and responsibly!

    • And didn’t a guy freeze to death after being dumped off with just a shirt?

      • Nick, so one incident now reflects on every white person in Winnipeg? Do you think maybe the people judging white people are the racists in any way?

  48. The article seems to make a point you wouldn’t expect it to want to make. To wit- the more aboriginals a province has the lower the opinion non-aboriginals have of them. Isn’t this like saying that Manitoba knows more about the situation than say Atlantic Canada. By the way- there’s a reason Newfoundland doesn’t have a problem with aboriginals- they exterminated them. There actually were ‘Red’ Indians in this part of the world, reddish rather than brown skin. Gone.
    Here is my point- because I am not a racist I can only believe the sad situation is due to man-made factors. Number one would be the lack of integration with the larger community, largely due to the whole reserves and for that matter the idea of a separate nation. Other proud peoples, the Germans, Poles, Scots etc. manage to preserve their cultures without the need for little enclaves in the far north. Typically these are personal fiefdoms of the chief and his cronies who loot the budget while the rest live in Third World conditions.
    It’s worth pointing out that few aboriginals have much interest in living a traditional life style. If they did there is nothing to stop them. Absent a strip along the US border, Canada is largely uninhabited. But like most of us, they want to drive cars, watch tv, etc. etc.

    When the Romans invaded tribal Britain they found ‘aboriginals’ living in burrows. But it has been estimated that within 20 years, the average Briton was better off- mainly because of Roman law.
    The Greeks passed rationality to the Romans, who passed it the Brits. It doesn’t belong to anyone but it does have to be passed along. Have the aboriginal leaders helped or hindered?

    • a ps to my comment: the other ethnic groups often do have physical enclaves for a while and some parts will still be called for example ‘Germantown’ long after most of the inhabitants are German. but the kids integrate first and the process begins.

  49. The “racism” (I think hate is more accurate) Macleans speaks of in Winnipeg is very strong amongst BOTH sides involved in this issue.

  50. Bravo Macleans for telling the truth. Just once I’d like to see the mayor and premier show up for a press conference with native victims’ families. MacLeans has cast an important light on a national blight.

    • Amen!

  51. You had me until near the end where the police chief was quoted as talking about “white privilege” and that “affluence resulted from historic inequities.” Really? I thought hard work was how people became affluent. Ask any white immigrant if they’re “privileged.” And are all whites in Winnipeg “affluent?”

    • For the love of knowledge and common sense, please look up a simple search for the terms what is white privilege and what is white default. Surely, you can imagine what your world would be like if everyone around you in a position of authority was black or brown and telling you what you need to do to be successful in their world? We won’t even add all the impositions that happen to people of color every day only because of their race.

      • Funny – When one applies for a civic job, there are boxes available to check if you are minority, handicapped or female. Preference goes to these “select” groups. Sounds like reverse discrimination to me.

    • You missed the point that you do not have to suffer as much as other races simply because skin color is ‘white’. There is a whole world of education just waiting for you to discover it.

      • What about successful people of asian descent?

      • White privilege is a mechanism so people can cop out and shift blame for their situation in life.
        Personal responsibility is what needs to be reinforced in “minorities” minds, instead of entitlement, and Marxist nonsense.

        • Denial of issues is yet another privilege for those representative of the people in the vast majority of positions of power. That’s very nice for you, but hardly a source of comfort for those on the receiving end of these issues. Also, I think you would benefit from also learning what Marxism is about.

  52. I had no idea that racism in Canada is as bad as it is in the U.S., and I still don’t.

  53. Winnipeg is an easy target for Nancy MacDonald’s ridiculous harangue. The city does not have enough seats in parliament or the economic clout for any political party to go to bat for it, unlike when Quebec is critiqued. Sure there is racism in Winnipeg, just like any other city, only different players. The real blame for negative aboriginal issues is on the various federal governments and aboriginal leaders whom over the years have done little to find solutions to the problems confronting aboriginal people in urban environments. Winnipeg has the nation’s largest urban aboriginal population and that will certainly be reflected in various issues. Instead of cheerleading these ill conceived accusations against their city, Winnipeg’s politicians should be looking for solutions that will work. The politicians and the local media should also not simply accept the views of an outside source as the gospel.

  54. I grew up in Winnipeg during the 70s and I’m actually surprised this news is finally making the news. When I attended school there I was subjected to racism on a daily basis along with kids of other ethic backgrounds such as Chinese, Filipino, Black, Aboriginal. Now are all Winnipeggers racist. No of course not but many that I grew up with were not welcoming either. I haven’t lived there for over twenty years and was told by a friend that the city is more multicultural since I left.

    Now with that said I can understand the resentment towards natives by whites. Many see them as a tax burden getting a free ride. The question that I’ve always wondered is how long they will continue to use the race issue as an excuse for not getting ahead?

    Every ethnic minority faced racism in Canada. The East Indians and Chinese all face extreme racism when they came to this country. Boat loads of Sikh’s were turned back to India while Chinese were forced to pay a head tax and not allowed to bring their wives to this country. Despite this these groups have become extremely affluent business owners, and professionals. These groups never had a government assistance. Instead they worked as family or as community in menial jobs or anything they could find to make a better life. These jobs were difficult and under horrible conditions. The difference is they were willing to do whatever it takes to make a better life.

    At some point, the natives must accept some responsibility for their situation instead of blaming the past for their problems.

  55. Stop blaming white people and put a magnifying glass on Native sins.

    “Dirty Indian” doesn’t translate very well into white English, no matter how inflammatory it is in Native English. Only Natives use the term “Dirty Indian”. White people don’t use that term. One Aboriginal calling another a “Dirty indian” isn’t racism of white power, which we are expected to be ashamed of (hence the sole purpose of MacLean’s story). Blaming white people when Native men rape and murder Native women allows the perpetrators off the hook by diverting the effect from the cause Their race is their defence, but being white is not my conviction. White people are perfectly capable of inventing better insults than that old canard of racist anti white stereotyping. “Dirty Indian” is the same as Ni**er”. the ones who use it the most are the ones who claim they are most offended by it.

    Rejection of native accusations is not racism. Until natives admit they are part of the problem, it is a lost cause.

  56. I believe the article was written to provoke our emotions to start a conversation in our society, not necessary to label all Winnipegers as a bunch of racists. The unfortunate part is this is a complex issue that has be rolled up into racism as the overwhelming driver. If we treat the issues as only related to racism, then I do not believe we will develop effective strategies to address the underlying causes, rather we look to solutions that only involve race.

    One example, how to address the underlying problems on communities (reserves), where not all people are treated fairly, where not everyone can get adequate housing, although the Band is responsible for housing, and federal government is responsible for the funding. Here is one example of the colony system being imposed on a people, with Bands electing their chiefs, and chiefs responsible for determining who lives in which house. There are several issues her, the colony system, federal government funding, inadequacies of individual rights for those living in a community, economic issues effecting those that are low income, which occurs on and off a community. There is also the treatment these issues receive in the media, or lack of treatment.

    When dealing with issues of drug abuse, and alcoholism are we dealing with issues of how people have been made to feel about themselves, their people, their way of life, and them wanting to continue that way of life on or off their community, even if that way of life does not fit into current norms.

    When dealing with racist attitudes, what factors are driving these beliefs. Are we talking about people of a certain background, education level, or experiences, and of fears. Often when we hear the word racist, it is assumed to mean white person.

    And this may hold true in some cases, but not all white people are racist; And not all Winnipegers are racist, and not all racists live in Winnipeg.

  57. Well i recall a few years ago that there was a NATIVE ONLY hockey tourney and yet no one got upset,where were these savages then? No protest agauisnt that and no blocking roads,hmmm guess when it helps only them then it is ok? Yes no one is more racist in Canada then the gas sniffing,paint huffing sub human savges,all they want is for whitey to take care of thembut yes they are such a “proud People’ LOL WHAT A JOKE

  58. If you want to see subtle racism, come to the Vancouver area. The whole taxi cab industry is racist and refuses to hire outside brown immigrants. No white company would ever be allowed that exception. Mao Zedong spoke about Han Chinese and “Han Chauvinism.” That very Han Chauvinism peppers Greater Vancouver.

  59. Personally, I’m a bit tired of MACLEAN’s magazine’s articles of portrayal of racism in Winnipeg. If the articles were in some way balanced, it might matter. Winnipeg is a city that has recently had a female mayor, a gay mayor, a Jewish mayor, and currently has a mayor with some Metis heritage. Why don’t the writers of MACLEAN’S include a study or the numbers for aboriginal crime in Winnipeg, and then ask the question of how that may contribute to racial tension in the city? That’s the kind of reporting that would require integrity. Won’t find it here.

  60. I’ve been reading through the comments and I am really amazed at how openly hostile and hateful so many of you are. Such a profound lack of empathy and such a vast amount of ignorance.
    I think instead of reacting defensively, maybe take a deep breath, and read a damn book. Learn some history, and sociology, and how about some psychology while you’re at it.
    Generations of dominance, sexual, psychological and physical abuse, genocide and cultural annihilation doesn’t just go away that easily. And no, it didn’t all happen centuries ago. The last residential school was closed in 1996. Do you have any idea what children in those schools went through?
    Maybe it’s time that we stop and think about these people as people. Imagine they are your family. Try and have some damn empathy. Try being human.

    • So what? Other races have endured a lot more than having to go to school, my friends from Vietnam and Sierra Leone have seen families slaughtered and they don’t abuse drugs and pop out FAS babies while blaming somebody else for generations. People realize how much this BS is costing them and have frankly had enough, and not just white people either, if you read the comments or ask anybody Asian, Pakistani, Black, you name it they can’t stand this unequal treatment either.

  61. Oh please….. Playing the ‘woe is me’ card has to stop. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it’s this BS. Mainly because I’m half native….

    I could easily play that card and whine to everyone about my childhood problems, but instead I took a stand. I changed myself, which in turned changed how people viewed me.

    You can call me arrogant but here’s the facts, people love to work with me. They can’t help themselves but speak highly of me. They want me to work for them.

    Why? Because rather than being whiney and crying about my past, I educated myself. not by the school system, because it’s failure to all children, but from books to better me as a person. Books about confidence, happiness, peace of mind. You name it, I’ve read it, listened to it, watched it, and wrote about it.

    We all have one thing in common, choice!

    We can choose to be losers, or we can choose to be winners. I’m sorry but I can’t help but choose to be a winner and not a whiner.

    Be the change you want to see, and that’s exactly what I have done.

    Growing up as a child in Prince George, I thought I would only ever amount to being an ‘indian’. A drunk. Nothing that mattered. It sucked. I hated that feeling. But I looked around and no one else was doing anything about it. No one was being that role model I needed when I was a child. So I decided to show the world what can happen when you let go of the past and focus on the future.

    You want your child to be strong, confident, mature, or downright respectable? If they are willing to learn, I am willing to teach.

    But the whining has to stop. If you want respect, you have to earn that.

  62. Douglas Cardinal, a talented Native (Canadian) architect, completed his graduate studies in Texas. When asked about studying in such a racist southern region Douglas said that he liked Texas because people carry their guns, in their front pockets, where you can SEE them…we can [hopefully] address what we can see. It was hard to read the article; however, poisonous wounds need to be exposed before they can be treated and healed….a very sad but a very important piece! Tnx, McLeans.

  63. This is a ridiculous article for so many different reasons. I understand it’s intended to promote and sell your magazine based on a sweeping generalization. But you’ve managed to pick on one of the country’s most diverse cities that in fact has an annual, world-renown festival celebrating diversity. Set foot, as a brown person, in any Quebec city outside Montreal and you experience far worse, since we’re naming names.

    I’ve lived in many Canadian cities, including Winnipeg, and I have a solid perspective on this issue. Your research is one-sided and doesn’t provide an accurate portrayal of a city that welcomes and integrates newcomers. Every city has racial tensions, there’s no denying that. But to single out Winnipeg was an unfair characterization that needlessly throws mud on a community outside your Toronto-centric perspective.

  64. I don’t understand. All you ever hear from the leaders of the first nations people is how proud of a race of people they are. But I don’t see it. Seems to me that proud people take responsibility for their own lives & actions and have to internal fortitude to change when needed. I see nothing but abuse of the systems that are in place to benefit them. They abuse the homes provided to them on their reserves and then complain about the living conditions. They abuse their women and girls and many are molested at a young age. And in most cases, the abusers continue to be a part of the community and are not exiled or disciplined. They abuse their bodies with inadequate diet and booze, solvents and poisons. And that results in stressed health care for all. How about all the babies & children being placed in foster care? Lots of these kids have FASD and will require a lifetime of care…all avoidable, but I guess they are too proud to change or use birth control. I, as a long-time Winnipeg resident and taxpayer have witnessed this abuse for decades and it is getting worse. And I resent it a great deal – I believe it is my right to an educated honest opinion, however politically incorrect it may be. I am not some hack writer sitting in his office in Toronto with a predetermined outlook for a dramatic article. I am a realist. I have seen the decline in Winnipeg for many years and I have told my daughter to leave this city for greener pastures as soon as she can because it’s only going to get worse.

  65. I saw a local news story a few months ago that sums up why so many Winnipeg people have a problem with the first nations “poor poor me” line of defense. The story centered on a native couple living in the city and what they perceived to be racist and degrading treatment they received from a social worker handling their case. Their identities were blurred and voices disguised (they stated they didn’t want racial retribution so they hid their identities). Regardless, they came forward with the complaint that when they told their social worker they were pregnant and were expecting their 11th child – the worker had the nerve to suggest that maybe the female keep her legs closed in the future. The couple are claiming racism and filed a complaint which led to the case worker being disciplined. How many people do you know that can afford to raise 11 children in today’s world? I know I can’t. I guess it’s easier if the people who actually work for a living and pay taxes play your way but…And that’s what bothers me and I’m not alone. And this is just one small example. The city of Winnipeg is only throwing more and more $$$$ at the problem and less and less toward essential services like education, snow removal and general maintenance/upkeep. Winnipeg is already the biggest urban reserve in North America and this city is going down the crapper faster than the native population can reproduce. How high can you count?

  66. A favorite saying you hear first nations leaders quote all the time is “It takes a village to raise a child”. This statement rings true when the native fathers are nowhere to be found and family values & responsibility are absent as well. I’m thinking “foster care” must amount to first nations translation for village?

  67. This is brutal! I work in wpg serving the public of this city. I come in contact with many aboriginals each shift. Let me just say this. You can’t help those who do not wish to be helped. I get blamed for being racist just for doing my job and being white. All the while treating everyone equal and with respect.

  68. Racism is not ” race specific ” where are the Cheifs?

  69. What a dumb, divisive, article.

  70. While I understand the basic idea of the author raising awareness of indigenous challenges and issues, it could have been presented with more accurate information and been a conduit for change rather than a blanket statement of hate with no credibility. 3 of the 5 incidences referenced in this piece were crimes against indigenous people that were committed by indigenous people. Rinelle Harper was attacked raped and left for dead by 2 aborignial males and what saved her was her spirit and will to live and two white guys on their way to work that covered her with their jackets, called 911 and stayed with her until the paramedics arrived. If you want accurate quotes about racism in Manitoba and Winnipeg, just look to the aboriginal “leader” Terry Nelson. Mr. Nelson a “militant man” who in 2007 said there are only two ways of “dealing with the white man. Either you pick up a gun or you stand between him and his money.” So if we are talking racism lets look at the total picture, not a one sided attempt to discredit all other races in Winnipeg who are not of aboriginal decent.

  71. Listen to the author try to backpedal: http://www.92citifm.ca/2015/01/25/wheeler-vs-macleans-magazine/

    The author of the article that labelled Winnipeg as the most racist city admits that when an aboriginal person kills/assaults/etc another aboriginal person it’s not racism…any idiot knows that, but yet every example she gives of racism is committed by an aboriginal person upon an aboriginal person…even Tanya Tagaq’s cat caller was aboriginal (she conveniently left that out but admits it now).
    She also conveniently leaves out that fact that Rinelle Harper’s attackers where aboriginal and the boys who save her life where caucation.
    I’m not going to buy into her bullshit that our city is racist. Nice try Nancy, but you failed miserably. ‪#‎NancyMacDonald‬ ‪#‎Macleans‬ ‪#‎Winnipeg‬

  72. According the article, “the two accused of the November assault of Rinelle Harper are Aboriginal”. (And these same two are suspects in the killing of Tina Fontaine).

    “Just eight per cent of Aboriginal women are killed by strangers; the majority are murdered by their spouses or boyfriends (40 per cent), family members (23 per cent) or acquaintances (30 per cent)”.

    How are these statistics interpreted to indicate a city in the grip of racially motivated violence? A city divided between white ‘privilege’ and Aboriginal oppression?

    Don’t they suggest something more akin to the domestic violence statistics we are all so (unfortunately) used to?

    I’m confused…..

  73. As a Winnipeg personality pointed out in his rebuttal online, if “it has people talking” that is irrelevant… it’s not “the truth”. The Truth is what journalism should be about. Nancy Macdonald used examples that have nothing to do with racism.
    Please explain to me:
    How is an aboriginal man talking rudely to an aboriginal woman racism?
    How is an aboriginal woman being assaulted by aboriginals and dumped in the river (to be saved by two white men) racism?
    How is an unsolved murder, where nobody knows the race of the person(s) who committed the crime racism?
    These are awful events. True. These events are racist –the assault, the sexual reference to a singer – False. The Murder – unknown, but even if it was someone of a different race, who is to say it was racially motivated. It may have been over any number of other things – not because they are of a different race. The way it’s presented in the story (which is titled and deals with racism) makes it sounds like she was murdered just because she was aboriginal.
    I will not lie and say that Winnipeg is perfect, but from what I can see, in my opinion Nancy Macdonald left out some pretty important facts!!!
    The damage is already done to our national and international reputation.
    I hope someone from Winnipeg will create a lawsuit against this magazine. I will join and contribute to that cause.

  74. This article did not have all the facts and was very misleading. In the Tina Fontaine case it is unsolved therefor can not be categorized as racism. Tanya Tagaq was verbally assaulted assaulted by an aboriginal. Rinelle Harper was attacked by two aboriginals and HELPED by two Caucasians. None of this is printed why? And none of this is acts of rascism.
    Misleading and poorly written you can not leave key details like this out.
    I will never trust articles in the Maclean magazine again. This is not true journalize. Get your facts straight before you start to call people racist.

  75. Elitist, liberal media, just like the CBC, like to instigate social injustice and connote moral superiority over average folks, based on their self-righteous, political narrative.

  76. … and this article is coming from a woman from Toronto, who’s probably never lived in Winnipeg.


  77. First of all I love Winnipeg, born and raised here, there’s no other place I can imagine calling home. With that said, as a visible minority (Asian) Racism, I have traveled all across Canada and would like to say it’s an issue everywhere. No matter what town, city, province. Are the numbers skewed to gear towards her article? Yes. Just a little fun fact everyone should listen to her interview with Dave Wheeler, totally discredits anything she has to say. But what my beef is that the article is strictly towards racism against the First Nation’s People and the things that people say to them. I have had people, First Nation’s people say to me after I after apologizing for accidently bumping into them at a mall, cause malls are crowded, they would say ‘you didn’t say sorry when you landed here’. Excuse me? I’m born here, I’m as Canadian/Winnipegger as they get. -50c I wear a hoodie and a spring jacket! But to the point, if a story loosely based about racism is only about one race, it’s kind of unfair to the rest of us?
    Last little thing. Winnipeg is the most multicultural city in all of Canada. The writer also chose to forget that point. Racist? No, just poor journalism.

  78. As a Winnipeg resident for the last 8 years, and Manitoba born and raised, I cannot deny levels of social divide, prejudice and blatant racism that does occurs in this province and in our Country. That being said, if in my job, or in my past schooling i would have written a report, paper or any other memorandum with such blatant flaws, undocumented research, weak and misconstrued statistics, insinuated lies and such a one sided approach I would have failed (or forced to rewrite) in my education, or in business be forced to recall or subject to disciplinary actions. I think it is only fair that Nancy Macdonald, and her so called editors, be held to a similar standard and our so called national magazine should enforce such actions upon her. I can read the story and pick out the truths from the obvious lies, but the remainder of this country or world that is not following the backlash will continue to believe this is true will only view Winnipeg in a negative view as this article is slanderous to our city and province. Paris is suing Fox news for incorrect claims and bad information, so journalists should be very careful in what they push out as news these days.

    Racism cannot be taken lightly, and I am proud of my city for reacting the way it is. I look forward to hearing about the changes over the next year.

    Nancy, we expect better from one of our own…..

  79. I do believe what McLean says since I experienced the most “horrendous” treatment at the Phillips Casino, Winnipeg. Not once but more times. Manager and staff treat like like a dog spite the fact that that’s their fault. They actually don’t care. As I was confronted the Manager, he says rules is rules but what about their stupid mistake? Even the biggest Super7 jackpot that i have a signature…i have nothing…. terrible. during the time that i went to school, i personally let them to “ban” myself inside. In my amazement, they sent me a membership cart to play at the casino. Can you imagine? Now, years of losing money…. and one day, I lost my card…went to ask a new one….and suddenly manager coming. And said, get out on this casino. I said what? you let me in for so many years? Now, get out? Well, i look my wife and tell her about this matter.. he called the security guard and push me out.
    Then, when my “ban” period over,,,i went back to casino. On way inside the casino, the security gaurd held me since somebody complaining that im going to stab a white guy. Wow! the security guard try to scared me that maybe im going to jail….. Also… i play the poker machine.. on my machine.. I have almost $300 bucks credit. Now i went to the washroom but i covered it with my jacket. When i came back….that money are gone…..I reported it but it seems like the don’t care. I even talk to a security guard but they are high-tempered. Management always says…”under investigation”. What? until now?

    Even in Superstore in Sargent Ave., i was confronted by the Manager as a suspect of shoplifting, and let one of her guy bring me out of the store and tell me I’m ban at the store forever. I brought it to justice but Superstore is so big to fight for. Their lawyer says im a lier. I willing to go to lie detector who’s telling the right. It’s here in my heart.

    Even a lawyer told me to accept verdict because he says it will take too long if we fight even though i know im an innocence. That’s what a few experience i have in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada.

  80. Thank you for this important article. Neechi Commons is an aboriginal-owned co-operative in the North End of Winnipeg which is attempting to bring social and economic healing to the First Nations communities there, in a beautiful space including a food store including aboriginal specialty products, an arts and crafts store and a restaurant. People can read about it here: http://www.socialenterprisecanada.ca/en/newsroom/service.prt?svcid=enp_newsroom1&iddoc=373416 . We encourage people in Winnipeg to shop there, to invest when the next investment share offering is made and to donate when the crowd-funding campaign begins.

  81. If you could really learn the culture, languages, and histories of the Original and First Nations of this country, and early and modern settlers relationship with the Original and First Nations people across this country, then hopefully things would change. I’m not talking about the negative stuff, sure that is important, but a large part of knowledge is missing. This country, yes exclusive and “one-minded”, is built on that relationship. I’m tired of hearing “integration is needed” when no step is taken to acquire knowledge first from the Original and First Nation peoples, let’s try that first and really learn about our relationship as early and modern settlers on a land we were once embraced in with open arms and carried across this country.

  82. I don’t think this is a racism issue against aboriginals. Nor is it based on ignorance. It’s based on experience. I personally live in fear everyday. I have my whole life. But it used to be that I could just avoid going into certain areas of the city. But now, that threat is everywhere. Right in my community. Where I’m raising my children. Bottom line, if they want to be treated with kindness and respect – and as upstanding members of this city – they have to earn that right. Treat others with respect and kindness. Stop the violence. Stop the crime. Stop causing fear in people. Stop the self-entitlement. Don’t take my phone and/or other valuables from me just because you feel you can. Don’t ask me for money and then call me a “white bitch” because I can’t give it to you – in front of my children nonetheless. Stop ruining the reputation of all the other aboriginals that are indeed upstanding people. I could go on here for awhile. In my opinion, aboriginal people ostracize themselves. The majority of people in this city just want them to behave in a civilized manner so that we are actually capable of living together peacefully. And the sad part is that many aboriginals do this but all the rest ruin it for them.

  83. What is Muslim religion saying? All the non Muslims people are their enemies.
    Muslim religion teach them radicalism, extremism and terrorism. Somehow each and every Muslims in this world have been well brainwashed. They will never reform or change themselves.Therefore, they never give respect to others and other culture and customary

    In fact, the Muslim community in Canada support Islamic radicalism and terrorism.

  84. What is Muslim religion saying? All the non Muslims people are their enemies.
    Muslim religion teach them radicalism, extremism and terrorism. Somehow each and every Muslims in this world have been well brainwashed. They will never reform or change themselves.Therefore, they never give respect to others and other culture and customary.

    In fact, the Muslim community in Canada support Islamic radicalism and terrorism.

  85. No wonder, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government are trying to make the same historical mistake as France, Germany and England did those days.

    For Liberal, The Muslims’ votes are more important than their mother country Canada.
    What a shame!!!

  86. I think it would be a good time for the family of Helen Betty Osbourne to weigh in on this. She was a young woman murdered and it was covered up for many years. Everyone knew about it but she didn’t matter, so the murderers got away with the crime for many years. A young RCMP officer finally broke the case, but how many times has this happened?

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