Statements by AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo, BC AFN Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould and Chief Doug White, Snuneymuxw First Nation, regarding the Nanaimo Daily News - Letter to the Editor from Mr. Don Olsen

March 28, 2013

AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated: “The comments published by the Nanaimo Daily News show deep misunderstanding and ignorance about First Nations peoples – the paper must take immediate and sustained actions to work with First Nations to provide accurate information.  We need to understand the truth about First Nations.  Yesterday, Chief Douglas White III of Snuneymuxw signed a reconciliation agreement with the Province of BC; earlier this week seven Nishiyuu youth completed an epic journey, walking for two months over 1,600 kilometers from their community of Whapmagoostui on Hudson Bay to Ottawa to bring a message of unity and peace to First Nations and Canadians.  This letter is a sharp reminder of the dark colonial history we all continue to face, even as we look to the strength and actions of the Nishiyuu youth, First Nation leaders, citizens and allies across Turtle Island.  Our people have said 'enough is enough', we will expose such sentiments to the light, and work together with our non-Indigenous neighbours to pursue reconciliation and truly make such statements a relic of the past.”

BC Regional Chief Jody Wilson Raybould stated: “It is truly unfortunate that the editor of the Nanaimo Daily News allowed this letter to be published which clearly does not reflect the true history and reality of our peoples and as understood by the vast majority of British Columbians. Clearly, Mr. Olsen needs to educate himself both in terms of his ‘revisionist’ view of world history and Indigenous peoples place within it and also our current legal and political reality within BC and the need for recognition and reconciliation between and among peoples. I would strongly suggest the Nanaimo Daily News run a series of well researched and considered articles on historical and contemporary Indigenous Peoples’ issues for the benefit of its readers.”

Chief Doug White, Snuneymuxw First Nation, stated: “The Nanaimo Daily News letter is on the wrong side of history. Our future lies in forging new, constructive, and respectful patterns of relations between the First Peoples of this land and all the beautiful diversity of people that have come here in the last few hundred years. This future of reconciliation is one that that well-intentioned Canadians from all walks of life are striving to raise their children to champion. The publication of the letter is a reminder that there remains a dark legacy of hate that continues to try to poison some minds and hearts. We must reject that legacy, fight it with all our strength, and ensure that the hate it reflects is replaced with new understanding, recognition, and respect of each other.”

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

Contact information:
Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer
Tel: (613) 241-6789, ext. 382; Cell: (613) 292-0857; E-mail:

Assembly of First Nations