Alberta First Nation NDP candidate says she faced hate, racism on campaign trail

(Katherine Swampy voting Tuesday in Alberta where she says she experienced racism during the campaign)

Brandi Morin
APTN National News
EDMONTON–An Alberta First Nation NDP candidate said she experienced an overwhelming amount of racism on the campaign trail.

Katherine Swampy, 28, of Maskwacis joined the NDP team vying to win over the votes of local constituents after deciding to get into politics when she took issue with the latest provincial budget and tax increases.

Although she was no stranger to racism, the high amount she experienced during her campaign took her by surprise.

“Racism is something I endured my entire life and it’s nothing new,” said Swampy. “I received a tremendous amount of hate mail and endured racism throughout my campaign.”

She was told by many of her Devon-Drayton Valley constituents that they were wanting to support NDP but felt they couldn’t because, “you’re native” or “you’re an Indian.”

Another common comment she received from people was to “quit trying to turn Alberta into a reserve.”

Swampy said that although she is First Nations, she ran as an Albertan and her platform catered to all Albertans.

“Many people commented or asked how Aboriginal issues would help them or that they wouldn’t help them, but my platform was about investments, education, healthcare, senior care and jobs. They weren’t about Aboriginal issues, although this was a big part of the NDP platform.”

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 “I received a tremendous amount of hate mail and endured racism throughout my campaign.” Katherine Swampy 




One shocking comment topped them all.

Someone referenced murdered and missing Indigenous women when they posted on her Facebook campaign page, “I support NDP and Katherine Swampy in her campaign. It’s just too bad she has higher chance of coming up missing than she does of winning this constituency.”

Swampy took the post down immediately.

“As insulted and hurt as I was when I got it,” said Swampy. “It probably gave me that extra push. I wanted to prove these people wrong.”

She said it didn’t let it get the best of her.

Swampy said she worked hard throughout her campaign and knocked on doors where no one else was going.

It was the first time people from Maskwacis had a provincial candidate reach out to them.

Swampy finished in third place, but still feels her efforts made an impact.

“My achievements in this election were not just my own, it lifted my entire community. I was told that my efforts as an Aboriginal woman had an effect throughout the province as this election had more Aboriginal voters than ever before.”

Swampy on the campaign trail


“At the start of the campaign we expected to receive the same amount of respect as other Albertans but were quickly reminded that hate is still among us,” Chevi Rabbit.




Swampy said that it was the support of her family and friends that kept her encouraged throughout her campaign.

Long-time friend and Edmonton based human rights advocate Chevi Rabbit knows what it feels like to experience hate.

In 2012 he was attacked in Edmonton by a group of men who were taunting him with homophobic insults.

Since then, Rabbit has started an annual awareness march called “From Hate to Hope.”

Rabbit worked alongside Swampy to support her throughout her campaign.

“At the start of the campaign we expected to receive the same amount of respect as other Albertans but were quickly reminded that hate is still among us,” said Rabbit.

“We both work twice or maybe three times harder to prove ourselves, but unlike the bigots that targeted Katherine we will continue to see the good in others,” said Rabbit. “We believe in Alberta and will continue to build inclusive and accepting environments.”

“It was the only party that had any type of platform that included Indigenous people. I am super proud. I’m unbelievably proud that we are the new government,” ended Swampy.

Swampy is a busy mother of five and will graduate from the University of Alberta this month with a degree in Economics.

She said she plans to seek the NDP nomination for her riding for the upcoming federal election.

[email protected]


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12 thoughts on “Alberta First Nation NDP candidate says she faced hate, racism on campaign trail

  1. Alberta general election, 2012
    Progressive Conservative, Diana McQueen 7,358 51.68%
    Wildrose, Dean Shular 5,462 38.36%
    New Democratic, Doris Bannister 879 6.17%

    Alberta general election, 2015
    Wildrose, Mark Smith 6,281 37.0%
    Progressive Conservative, Diana McQueen 5,181 30.5%
    New Democratic, Katherine Swampy 4,816 28.4%

    Katherine’s ethnicity didn’t stop her from picking up almost 4,000 more votes from the good citizens of Devon-Drayton Valley. If Katherine can find another 1,465 voters, she’ll win. Racism exists. It is uncomfortable. But it need not be an obstacle to success. I would like to read more news about females running for office and native people running for office that have nothing to do with them being native or female. We’re Canadians dammit.

  2. Good for you Ms Swampy. I am sorry you have to deal with idiots, there are lot of them out there… But I am really happy that you will not let them keep you down!!! Good luck in the Federal Campaign. YOU ROCK!

  3. Thats okao were stronger and better then that. Chin up its nothing new to us natives. Let them fill their bodies, minds and souls with hate. smile and trail on. You go! Taposit them ayeaway lol.

  4. Very impressed that you put yourself out there. Racism is so nasty, and despite the year it simply doesn’t seem to be waning. I hope you will consider running again, the province and the country need women like you, with courage, intelligence and integrity!

  5. Keep your chin up, Katherine. Most decent folks are very proud of you and your courage.

  6. i am so impress with ms swampy…as i know what it is like to live with racisms and hate all my life…inspite of all the haters and bullies I have rise above them by not feeding into it as i have seen so karma goes around come around…in spite of all who cannot stand the color of my skin and who i am i am sucessful today a university grad, my daughter has education and can work anywhere but right she is into driving big rigs has three houses, her son is third year med, daughter graduated fron UVIC abd is working for ministry of finanace in viictoria, daughter who has been working for aboriginal organization for over ten years now most of the time is teaching in college my son works in the parlament building ministry of finiance so you ms swampy you can do it just out of the kindness of your heart really believe in what you want to change you will suceed…i am going to 67 yrs old this year and still working in a hospital…you go get um girl proud of you…

  7. Too bad ignorance still runs rampant and not much as changed since settlers first came to this country ,bringing The police to stop out right abuse .instead of being grateful living in the land of plenty thay act like spoiled, rotten children.
    Racial discrimination is such an ugly evil it makes enemies of humans even to their own their own children.
    Greed that will destroy not only others but them self’s.

  8. I am so impressed with Katherine Swampy! All the best to you in the federal election.

  9. I am sorry Ms. Swampey was faced with racism while electioneering. That is inexcusable. However, I have to say I was disappointed she didn’t come to my door to ask for my vote or even come to Calmar during the election as far as I am aware. That’s why I didn’t vote for her. Putting up signs means little to me. If signs mattered, I would have voted Remax.

    1. I imagine that if Ms. Swampey was facing a lot of racism and feeling beaten down by it, it would take great courage to keep on going. That she covered as much ground as she did is a credit to her. When she knocks on the door of a constituent, she has no idea if the is going to be welcomed, demeaned..or worse. Kudos to her and good luck Federally!

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