CONSERVATIVE SENATOR BRAZEAU CONTINUES TO DISRESPECT FIRST NATIONS
THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) is disappointed by the disparaging remarks made Tuesday January 29, by Senator Patrick Brazeau with respect to Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation. During his comments at a provincial candidate fundraiser in Orleans, Ontario, Senator Brazeau reportedly led the mocking of Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike and weight.
“Never have First Nations encountered such disappointing behaviour from any representative of Canadian government as that of Senator Patrick Brazeau,” said NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno. “While these comments were made amongst and to entertain Conservative supporters, Senator Brazeau’s comments are not representative of the First Nation’s values to treat one another including our federal and provincial counterparts with respect. In short, there is no defense for the comments made by Senator Brazeau.”
A member of Canada’s Senate since 2008, Senator Brazeau is also Deputy Chair of the Senate Committees on Aboriginal Peoples and Human Rights.
“As an aboriginal person appointed to the Senate, Conservative Senator Brazeau demonstrates his aggression against the elected leadership of First Nations with his comments,” said Grand Chief Yesno. “And unfortunately, rather than being a fair and positive advocate for aboriginal people in this country, Senator Brazeau continues to choose a very sad route of being disrespectful and dishonouring of his position, fellow Canadians, First Nations and our elected leadership.”
In closing, Grand Chief Yesno stated, “Nishnawbe Aski Nation honours the teachings of our elders to be respectful of our leaders, and honour the personal dignity of Chief Theresa Spence and members of Attawapiskat First Nation.”
Senator Patrick Brazeau is a member of the Kitigan Zibi and served as National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) for two terms. The CAP is not the official political representative body for First Nations Chiefs and according to its website it represents the interests of aboriginal people living off-reserve.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty No. 5 – an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario in Canada.