Statement on Senator Beyak – Mushkegowuk Council Deputy Grand Chief


MOOSE FACTORY – Mushkegowuk Council Deputy Grand Chief Rebecca Friday issued a statement today on the issue surrounding Conservative Senator Beyak: As one of the leaders of the Mushkegowuk First Nations, and as a Residential School Survivor, I am appalled and disheartened by the shocking comments made by Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak during her March 7th speech in the Senate. Senator Beyak’s comments derive from her privileged position whereby she feels comfortable to sit back and provide an off the cuff analysis on a racist system with which she has no direct experience.

Residential School was a continuation of a genocidal policy that has proven to have had detrimental and long standing effects on the Indigenous people of Canada. The whitewashing of this devastating era in our history is not only wrong, but also extremely disheartening given the fact that these comments were made by a Senator who has been a member of the Senate Committee on Aboriginal People for many years.

Senator Beyak’s comments are not only ignorant to the reality of the pain and suffering of those who were forcibly confined to these schools but also ignorant to just how dangerous her views truly are.

From 1904 to 1976, hundreds of aboriginal children from remote James Bay communities were sent to St. Anne’s, one of 140 church-run residential schools in Canada. St. Anne’s Residential School in Fort Albany, Ontario is notorious for being one of the most heinous schools in the country. Children were subjected to many forms of horrendous abuses including being strapped into a homemade electric chair and repeatedly shocked for amusement of the priests and nuns who looked on laughing. Children were forced to eat their own vomit and were subjected to starvation and inhumane and illegal medical experimentation.  All of these facts are supported by the Truth and Reconciliation Report. As leaders, it is our job to ensure that these devastating events of our history do not repeat themselves.

We are not calling for an apology, but rather We call on the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the Honourable Rona Ambrose to immediately and permanently remove Senator Beyak from her position as Senator.

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