A NewsKamloops editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IS IT RASCISM when one ethnic group tells another it’s not welcome, for any reason?
The question was raised this week in response to a news report that the Tk’emlups te Secwepmc (also known as the Tk’emlups Indian Band) has posted signage declaring that the beach between the Red Bridge and the Silver Sage Trailer Park is available only to Band members.
The CFJC-TV report said the Band took the step because the beach has been littered with garbage, including drug needles.
It’s not the first time the Band has yanked the welcome mat. Some 16 years ago, the Band withdrew its support for the Rivers Trail project, citing reluctance by its members to allow non-members to walk on the part of the trail that was supposed to be constructed on reserve land.
Construction on the overall project was well underway, including an expensive pedestrian crossing on the Yellowhead Bridge, which now leads pretty much nowhere.
On another occasion, the Band obtained grant money to build a hiking trail at the base of Mount Paul, but it required non-band members to seek permission from the Band office before using it.
What if the shoe were on the other foot, some people have asked? For example, the beach along Schubert Drive has been in the news recently for the garbage and drug paraphernalia that is making it hazardous for regular folks. What if non-City residents were banned from the area?
It would, of course, be ridiculous. To extend the analogy, what if Band members specifically were banned? That would be even more ridiculous and would quickly be labeled as racist.
Racism exists in all ethnicities, but to call the Band’s action in banning non-members from the beach racist fails to take into consideration its context.
The Tk’emlups band has a few hundred members as opposed to the 86,000-plus residents in Kamloops. Their challenges are not comparable. First Nations people everywhere are struggling to protect (regain, even) their cultural heritage, keep their very languages from disappearing, meanwhile dealing with serious economic and internal social issues.
Given the big picture it’s not unreasonable for the band to try to protect the beach by restricting who uses it.
When someone comes into your home and spills something on you’re carpet, you have a right to ask them to leave. That’s really all the Band is doing.
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August 26, 2016 09:23pm
Get over it people
Greg D says:
August 26, 2016 06:43pm
James nelson says:
August 26, 2016 01:08pm
Andy Philpot says:
August 26, 2016 11:07am
Craig Richardson says:
August 26, 2016 10:20am
Pierre Filisetti says:
August 26, 2016 06:09am
There should be no "banning" but a cooperative effort to manage bad behaviour (which again, comes from all corners of the known universe) for the sake of the greater good. We do not need more "walls", no more "keep off" signs, no more animosity.