Support is pouring in from across Turtle Island in response to the events surrounding Ethan Bear.
The Edmonton Oilers defenceman said on social media Wednesday that people hurled racist insults at him on social media following the team’s first round loss in the playoffs.
“We just came off a hard fought series, we didn’t’ get the results that we wanted but the guys left it all on the line,” says Bear in a video posted on the team’s twitter page on Wednesday. “As you know I’ve been subjected to racist behaviour on social media and I know this doesn’t represent all Oilers’ fans or hockey fans and I greatly appreciate your support and love during this time.
“I’m here to stand up to this behavior, to these comments. I’m proud of where I come from.”
Following news of the attacks, the Prime Minister, journalists and fellow athletes all voiced their support for Bear online.
Racism and hatred have no place on the ice, off the ice, online, or offline. We’re with you, Ethan – and we stand with you and hockey fans across the country against this unacceptable behaviour that far too many Indigenous people face. https://t.co/7th1kvs8oN
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 27, 2021
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid took to social media denouncing the racist comments to Ethan.
“The individuals who spew this type of hate should think twice about their behaviour. Ethan is such a positive role model for the Ochapowace First Nation and does so much amazing work in our local Edmonton community,” McDavid said in the statement.
“On behalf of all of my Oiler teammates, we stand strong behind Ethan and against racism of any kind.”
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is also speaking out in support of Ethan Bear.
Vice Chief Heather Bear, who is Ethan’s aunt, released a statement as part of an FSIN news release about the situation.
“My nephew is a strong man and a positive role model to so many people, but it hurts our community and our First Nation’s youth who read and see these comments online,” she said. “No one deserves this disgusting backlash.”
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron added how much Ethan means to the First Nations community.
“Ethan Bear has gone above and beyond for the First Nations community and is a positive role model for our youth. He regularly returns to Ochapowace to inspire the next generation of hockey players,” Cameron said in the release.
“We all must stand up for our First Nations players and call out racism for all hockey players, at the top level to the ones just learning to love the game. This is unacceptable and silence only perpetuates the hate.”
The Confederacy of Treaty Six Nations in Alberta is another organization speaking out against the remarks directed towards Ethan.
“Certainly something that’s not needed in any circumstance especially in sports. I think sports is very important for a lot of our nations, we try to get our youth to participate and get involved in activities and sports and when they see this type of things happening, we don’t want to see it as a discouragement for them to pursue whatever they want to pursue,” said Treaty Six Nations Grand Chief Vernon Watchmaker.
“We will stand beside them if they are going through a situation like this so it was a no brainer for us to step in and advocate.”
Bear, 24, just finished his second full season with the Oilers. He had two goals and eight points in 43 games this shortened season.
A rally will be held on May 29 in Edmonton to support Bear and denounce racism.