Nazi flag flap highlights Saskatchewan’s race problem

The raising of Nazi and Confederate flags in a yard in small town Saskatchewan raised  the ire of a First Nations man who drove to the town to take them down and burn them live on social media last weekend.

While more than 30,000 people have viewed the video that inspired a hashtag in support of the flag-burner, it also re-ignited racial tensions in a province that sees flare-ups too often.

“Its always been there, its always below the surface,” said Coun. Fabian Ironeagle of the Pasqua First Nation, surrounded by Saskatchewan’s grain belt.

“Everything we do, where ever we go, there are certain situations we’re put in as a First Nations person where you can actually feel it sometimes, where people don’t like you.”

(The Nazi flag flying in Saskatchewan)

Eleanore Sunchild is a Cree lawyer from Thunderchild First Nation in the central part of the province.

She said traveling elsewhere in Canada feels much different than living as a First Nations person in her home province.

Just three years ago, Colten Boushie, a young Cree man, was shot dead by a farmer for trespassing on his property near Biggar.

The farmer, Gerald Stanley, walked free.

“There are parts of Saskatchewan where you don’t go,” Sunchild said. “And a lot of those areas are the rural areas, just because its not safe, especially in the wake of what happened to Colten.

“It gave people a permission to be more open with their racism,  and they are, as you by this display of the Nazi flag.”

Kamao Cappo of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation agrees the racial tensions are more openly displayed

“(After Stanley’s acquittal) it become more obvious and people feel they have more permission to do what they like,” said Cappo, who filmed himself being thrown out  of a Canadian Tire store in Regina in 2017, after being racially profiled as a thief. He was in the store buying a chainsaw.

Sunchild said there are allies in the province but they’re too few and too quiet.

“Maybe they feel ‘it’s not my fight’ so I’ll stay silent but how will it change if we’re all silent,” Sunchild said.

Meanwhile the flag burner, Caleb Pelletier, 21, told APTN InFocus he stands by his decision to take action when the town and the police, refused to.

“I’d rather stand up than shut up,” Pelletier said.


4 thoughts on “Nazi flag flap highlights Saskatchewan’s race problem

  1. There are those who view the reign of Hitler and the National Socialists as a positive thing. The ideology of the Southern Confederacy, which was based on Chattel Slavery/Segregation is viewed by the same as supporting White Supremacy. In the bygone era of Hollywood when the Calvary meet up with Native people, the encounter always went, “I come to you from the Great White Father, from the Great White House.” They view all “non-white” people as being inferior to them. The Nazi’s sent 6 million Jews and twenty million others to the death camps for extermination. The Southern Slavers kept millions of Black people in bondage and inequality; this is what they believe in, and it is not a matter of freedom of speech. Do I have the right to propagandize about genocide? Remember what Kitt Carson once said, ” the only good injun; is a dead one.”

  2. Good on you, Caleb!

    But what’s happening in Saskatchewan?! So many problems with racism, corruption in government, environmental ignorance … have the settlers been inbreeding?

  3. I’m not a First Nations person, but I now live in North Battleford, close to where the Colten Bushie killing took place. This area of the province is so backwards and so racist that I can hardly believe it. I grew up very close to Saskatoon, and this kind of racism i did not experience growing up. We had friends who built a sweat lodge on their acreage and we went to Pow Wows and round dances with them. The family was mostly caucasian, but had distant ancestors who were First Nations. With permission from the band, they adopted 2 beautiful Cree children and worked very hard to preserve the teachings of their people and in turn discovered their own lost heritage. So my upbringing was one of discovery and celebration, love and respect. Moving here I had no idea what I was going to experience. Even a seemingly sweet and loving coworker will suddenly use racist language or slurs and I am always just shocked! I truly don’t understand it. I am proud that in my job I have the opportunity to work with a majority of First Nations and Indigenous children and families. I hope I am a supportive ally to the community, as I try to be.

  4. I was in North Battleford and I saw a friend I work with and was talking to him. He happens to be a first nation man. As we were talking my son pulled up and he looked at my son and said what’s that f#$&ING white kid looking at. I asked my friend what his problem with this kid was and he replied he’s f$&#ing white. I then told my friend that the white kid was my son. I asked him if it would be acceptable if I made racial slurs against his family. My friend was very embarrassed and apologetic Racism exists both ways in Saskatchewan.

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