Chief Clifford Bull Says Senator Beyak Comments Offensive

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Lac Seul First Nation

Lac Seul, ON – Chief Clifford Bull and his Council have joined the call asking for the immediate resignation of Senator Lynn Beyak from the Senate of Canada. The Senator has and continues to insult and injure the well-being of survivors, including their families and communities.

Senator Beyak claims the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has overlooked the “good deeds” that were done in the residential schools. However, the truth is that the good experiences of former students are by far overshadowed by the negative experiences.

She has further stated she “suffered” along with survivors and that she doesn’t need anymore “education” about the residential school system. Beyak has also called for financial audits of all First Nations in Canada, something that is already extensively practiced.

Chief Bull, himself a survivor, calls the Senator’s remarks ill-informed and “she hasn’t experienced firsthand the trauma of being institutionalized as a child. Her comments are offensive to those who actually suffered and endured ‘cultural genocide.’”

The chief accentuated, “I am coming forward to add my voice to the growing call for the Senator to resign. When injury is inflicted upon an already disadvantaged people by authority figures of high esteem, they must be held accountable for their words and actions.”

Last week, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe-Aski Nation and Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh of Grand Council Treaty #3 issued a joint statement demanding the beleagred Senator to resign from the Senate of Canada.

Chief Bull is also asking Kenora riding MP Bob Nault to join the call for Beyak’s resignation. “I am asking Mr. Nault to come forward and join us in the stance. I seek support from Mr. Nault because Senator Beyak hails from the Kenora riding and as such, Mr. Nault cannot remain mum on the matter.”

There were nine residential schools that operated in northwestern Ontario seven of which were located in Mr. Nault’s riding. The lingering and intergenerational effects still eat away at the very soul of many survivors and their families.

While there are many good citizens who work diligently towards reconciliation, there remains a significant amount of work to do to create more awareness of Canada’s dark history on residential schools. Sadly, Senator Beyak’s comments do not help in the in the renewal of relations between the Anishinaabe people and non-indigenous people.

Chief Bull concluded, “I am also calling upon the Conservative Party of Canada to honour the sacred words of the 2008 Statement of Apology to survivors. Senator Beyak should abide by the powerful words of the Apology.”

The Apology was delivered by former prime minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party of Canada to which Senator Beyak is a member.