Nishnawbe Aski Nation calls for boycott of Dryden over Beyak vote

(Sen. Lynn Beyak. Photo: APTN File.)

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) is calling for a boycott of Dryden, Ont., after the mayor and council voted overwhelmingly not to ask for Lynn Beyak to resign her position in Canada’s senate.

In a virtual meeting, the council voted during a virtual meeting to not censure Beyak who is from Dryden.

Alvin Fiddler, the grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation that represents 49 First Nations in northern Ontario, posted on Facebook that he’s disappointed and is encouraging others to boycott the community.

“I would encourage event organizers like tournaments to avoid Dryden as a host city in the future because if they condone racism, it’s not a safe place for our children,” Fiddler wrote.

The city hosts two major hockey tournaments for First Nations in the region annually, including a youth tournament that brings in over a thousand young people from the remote north.

In his Facebook post, Fiddler said city council isn’t taking the Senator’s racist conduct seriously.

“Why would we keep supporting a town like this?” Fiddler’s post said.

Earlier this year, Dryden Councillor Shane Mackinnon filed a resolution to censure Beyak’s conduct.

The senator was suspended from her duties last year and kicked out of the Conservative caucus for not removing racist letters from her website.

She published the letters to support her opinion that some residential school survivors had positive experiences. The first suspension ended automatically when Parliament was dissolved for the federal election.

Part of the recommendations from that suspension included an apology and cultural training that reports said she didn’t take seriously.

Beyak also claimed that racism didn’t exist in her hometown.

In February, Beyak changed her tune and offered an apology to the senate.

“I want to apologize to Indigenous peoples, to the senate and to my fellow senators and to the Canadians we all represent for any hurt I have caused,” Beyak said.

“They were disrespectful, divisive and unacceptable,” she said about the letters on her website that have since been removed.

Those words didn’t save her from getting suspended from the red chamber a second time, this time without pay.

With files from Brett Forester

Video Journalist / Thunder Bay

Willow is an Oji-Cree Anishinabe from Sandy Lake First Nation. Her background is in print journalism and she studied multimedia before entering broadcast news . She is passionate about the stories of the Anishinabe in northwestern Ontario, particularly in the remote north.


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