To the editor:
I am a student who graduated at the 100 Mile House graduation ceremonies of 2018, and I would like to say that I greatly disagree with the article No Need to be Welcomed as Guests, and find it very offensive towards the Canim Lake Band. First of all, Chief Helen Henderson’s speech was not to set an agenda, it was a thoughtful speech for all members of the graduating class to remember our homes and to know we always have a home to come back to.
It was a way to ingrain First Nations culture into our ceremony, which to me was important because so many students of our graduating class have First Nation Ancestry. I find importance in recognizing the fact that First Nations peoples were here before us, and it is important to recognize this and to participate in their culture.
I have lived on Haida Gwaii Island, and so much of their First Nation culture has been lost because they were reprimanded for expressing it in the past. Dan Westwood’s letter was just negligence to First Nation’s people and an insult to a Chief who was just kindly trying to express her pride in the students who made it through high school and received their diploma.
I believe that in the future articles such as these should be filtered more closely, so insulting complaints are not published as ‘news.’ I believe that this article reflects poorly on our community and our local paper, and also on the graduating class who in truth respected Chief Henderson’s speech.
We do not want an ‘apology’ from the Chief, in reality, we would like an opportunity to thank her for incorporating an important and vital part of Canada into our small, and humble ceremony.
Thank you for your time in reading this email, I hope you understand the importance of this complaint.
A Graduated Student of Class 2018