ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE – Anishinabek Nation Southeast Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Jim Bob Marsden is disturbed after learning that Gordon Gilchrist, a former Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board trustee, filed for nomination papers to run for a seat earlier this month for the very board that censured him in 2016.
“We are in disbelief that a man who resigned back in 2016 because of disrespectful comments he made about our youth drum circle would have the nerve to even think of running for a school trustee position when three local First Nations have students in these schools,” stated Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Marsden.
Board trustees censured Gilchrist by unanimous vote in 2016 following allegations of offensive and insensitive remarks he made during the performance of a First Nations drum group at the opening of Cobourg Collegiate earlier that year. It was reported that Gilchrist’s offensive remarks were made about Alderville First Nation’s youth drum group in May 2016. According to a group of students from the jazz band, Gilchrist allegedly told them “there’s more to music than banging on a drum and yelling…I wouldn’t have been so eager to take over this country if I’d known that was the kind of music they played here.”
While Gilchrist denies ever making the comments, the board conducted a third-party investigation that determined that the balance of probability substantiated the assertions, which led the board to censure him.
Many individuals and groups, including MPPs, teacher unions, and Alderville First Nation Chief Marsden, called on Gilchrist to resign from the board. Gilchrist stepped down from his position with the board later that year.
Gilchrist was also censured in February 2008 by his fellow trustees after a letter of his was published in a local newspaper where he made inflammatory comments regarding immigrants.
According to reports, Gilchrist feels a duty to run because there is a new director of education that he thinks may be more inclined to hear about his previously expressed concerns regarding students having to be re-taught math in university.
Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief is disappointed following the news as the school board has had a strong and long-standing relationship with the surrounding First Nations.
“We have all worked so hard to build relationships with school boards and it completely goes against the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” added Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Marsden.
Deputy Chief Marsden will be addressing this matter with council.
The Anishinabek Nation is the political advocate for 40 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 60,000 people. The Anishinabek Nation is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.