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CONTRIBUTION · 9th November 2011
It is time to step up to the plate and be heard.

I have attended the last election forum's and the one held in Kitimat this last week. I noticed that very few First Nations people attend and don't exercise their right to voice their concerns.

With the population ratio in Terrace being as it is, we could have whatever candidate we wanted voted into council.

Gone will be the days of discerning looks, pitiful glances and whispers behind our backs. We can show that we have power and we can use it. Power is in numbers. All the occupy protesters know that. All the candidates know that. Now we need to know and practice it.

It still baffles me that First Nations shop and spend their money in establishment’s that chuckle and sneer as the First Nation customer is walking out the door. If it wasn't for First Nation's money a lot of businesses would go bankrupt.

I calculated that for every feast from all surrounding areas, the Terrace stores in town will reap in about $5,000 for each feast if not more. Times that by 30 feasts (which is a conservative number) and the total is $150,000 per month.

I constantly hear about First Nations getting Free Government monies. This is about occupying someone else's land and paying for it just like they do when they want to build a road. To occupy someone's property you have to pay them compensation.

So where do the First Nation's spend this Free Government Monies?, well in Town of course.

So the people that put down the First Nation' s for getting it, want a piece of it. They will smile, flatter and pretend to be nice and tolerant so that they can get a piece of the Government Pie but put down the First Nations for getting it. Does Hypocrisy sound fair?

We pay taxes just like any other citizen in Terrace.

We get blamed for every run down building, all crime, health care costs, social services costs and well just everything that is not pretty and nice for Terrace citzens.

I say it is time to show that we can decide what is right for us. Who we can trust and rely on not to stab us in the back and use us for photo ops.

But for this we have to show up and get informed and VOTE!

The current Mayor won his seat with just 1200 votes. That should be easy for First Nations to fill. I know I have at least 300 plus immediate family members, sure all don't live in Terrace but I can contact who does and they can contact their spouse's immediate family and so on...

Almost all first nations are tied to each other through marriage so really, we could have every First Nation person in Terrace motivated to get out and VOTE. Get out to the FORUM TONIGHT AT 7PM. Let's give them a run for their money!!

I don't think there has ever been a First Nations person on council, I wish there was. Hopefully next election.

Imagine a City Council that actually respects First Nation's....
First Nations own the Terrace
Comment by colleen on 14th November 2011
In addition to Pre Contact there is the Tsimshians that own these lands. And today this still holds true.
Breath democracy back in to our town...
Comment by Adawk Deemtx on 14th November 2011
Terrace BC Residents you have window to breath democracy back into our Town. You have the window of honor, respect to achieve our peoples will to protect our home. We are all under the CORPORATION POWER CALLED (PERSON). Your civil rights, liberty is for sale. The power of money can buy anyone. But MERV RITCHIE is one of the most intelligent people we are gifted to have. He will open Democracy to the people, bring the people together, and find a conclusion bring Terrace BC out of Poverty. We have the tools, this is our Town, This is our home, This our right. Vote Merv Ritchie.
Terrace belongs to First Nations
Comment by colleen on 14th November 2011
This territory you're on belongs to first nations, There is Kitsumkalum, Kitselas & Gitaus. Lax Kw'alaams, Port Essington Plus each area of Terrace belongs to families that stems before contact. People actually own that territory

Why next election?
Comment by Samantha on 9th November 2011
You said maybe First Nations on Council next election. Why not this one? Tamara Ainscow is Cree.
terrace MY HOME
Comment by old terrace on 9th November 2011
I have lived in Terrce over 70 yrs,years ago there were only a few natives,and they were apart of terrace ,they were well respected,and they all worked,these family,s are still a main part of terrace,i do not like or repect the ones that think they own terrace,and we all should get out of there way, I can not walk down the street without having to walk around them.a lot have no manners at all.
For everyone to work together we have to voice the concerns
Comment by Nancy on 9th November 2011
Thanks for acknowledging that Terrace has benefited from the local First Nations monies. Everyone knew it, just didn't want to give the First Nations any credit for it.

It is time to put to bed some myths about First Nations funding. To get funding for anything ie post secondary education, adequate health care, or any of the like from our bands we have to live on the reserve. I have never lived on the reserve and I have student loans that will follow me for years just like any other.

Off reserve First Nations can get funding but like any other government institution we have to belong and/or suck up to the family that makes the decisions on funding. These days Band Councils are just as corrupt as any other governing body. If you don't shut up and do and say as your told you get nothing.

In fact, Band Councils are more susceptible to corruption, the number of band members eligible to vote is so small, all it takes is the one family and who they like to get voted in and they get all the new vehicles, houses, jobs etc. It is simply too much money to manage fairly for such a small population. Greed and corruption is commonplace. Even some elders that don't belong to the "family group" that live on reserves live in squalor and poverty.

I have worked hard all my life with no help from anyone. Against all odds, growing up in poverty, substance abuse and total dysfunction, I have been able to live my life with dignity, pride and compassion. I have also instilled these values in my children. My children treat everyone equal and base their opinions on the person, not the ethnicity or background. They ask for nothing for free. They know they have to work hard and earn their respect from their community.

I too, want to move forward and bring people together, but first we must expose the barriers that keep us from doing so. Only then can we heal as a community.

This dialogue has helped me already. At least I know I have reached out, regardless of how painful it is.

I will not apologize for being mistreated because of my race. I have a right to walk through town with my head held high, being proud of my community, just like anyone else.
Moving Forward
Comment by Non-Aboriginal on 9th November 2011
Dear Nancy,

I'm sorry you feel this way about being looked at differently in town. The fact is with our bleak economic times in the last ten years, Terrace has survived due to the money aboriginals/First Nations have spent in Terrace. I think all businesses realize what a large role the local Bands play in our little city's economy and are grateful.

If it helps any in comparison, I'm not aboriginal and I often do not receive any service at many local stores, or just plain bad service. I also don't believe, though, that anyone should get their post-secondary education paid for based on their ethnic status either. I think things should be fair, and we should all work for what we need/want.

I'd like to move forward as a community together and start to put these types of rants behind us. I have high respect for everyone no matter where they are from or what their ethnic background is. Maybe you don't realize how powerful you already are? I understand what you're getting at in your article, however I think a better message would be that all of our communities and groups work together for the betterment of everyone.

Tks to everyone...
Comment by Nancy on 9th November 2011
I attended the Municipal Forum for Terrace tonight and I was thrilled! Last Election there was no talk of First Nation's, tonight it was nothing but.

Even though there were few First Nations, We were there.

To address some of the comments made;

Christine - Thank you for the dance. I have and am living your life. I have raised 3 grown children with hearts of Indians and manners of many. I have watched people I love, live in destitution over identity issues.

A lot of hurt and pain has been passed down and it is our duty to address it and do something about it. I don't feel that we should teach our children"act". We should teach our children to "be true to their convictions".

It is hard these days, everyone wants to conform, everyone wants to be in the "cool crowd". Who doesn't want to be liked?
True North Strong and Free!

Response to Jim,

I am sorry you feel that way Jim, It is not hate literature, it is a fact, a well documented, filmed fact, no matter how ugly it is.

It is funny that you bring up Hitler, I am half native and half German, my friends use to tell me that, " Half of me wants to rule the world and the other half owns it!!"
Good memories, tks for that.

Jim, I don't think we are that isolated in this area, alot of people know we exist and everybody cares!

My whole point of this whole subject was to be inclusive, get all people together and be honest about issues, no more fluff.

Terrace is a fine place to live in, we just have to get together, be nice.

To Blah: This issue has been plaguing this community forever, it is not just 1 elephant it is the whole herd. Please try and understand.

To Shelby: There is too much to say on here. I will contact you. "On the record" You are a refreshing fountain "of truth".

To Gary: Thank you for voting. May the highest bidder win!

To Dave: Where do you live? This is a First Nations Area, always has been, always will be. I never implied who to vote for, all I advocated for was for all Terrace First Nations GET OUT AND VOTE!

And I am %100 per cent sure that most of the votes will come from Caucasians, that is my point.

To Unhappy: I never once said that I wasn't racist, maybe I am, in some ways. The point is to get together and quit it.

I meant no harm, just tried to share some thoughts on some issues concerning where we all live.

Goodnight and thank you.

Comment by Unhappy on 8th November 2011
As already said, this letter is very badly written. Or more to the point, rascist towards all non-natives. Shame.

I feel very saddened Nancy that you feel such a division and need to discriminate against non-natives. Clearly your letter is dripping with rascims. Who is actually more rasicist towards whom?
Racist article
Comment by Dave on 8th November 2011
Nancy, when you write something like "With the population ratio in Terrace being as it is, we could have whatever candidate we wanted voted into council. "

It sounds racist and distasteful.

I agree with Maggie Jo and gives a divisive attitude. So what you are saying is that the first nations should vote in who "they....we" feel is good. Now why don't you and every other voter out there (no matter what race they are) vote for the "best" person for the job no matter what race or sex they are.

I am almost 100% sure that if I wrote an article asking that all "us" (Caucasians) get together and vote in who "we" wanted well it would be branded as a racist.

How should you know who is the candidate that your neighbor wants just because she is FN as well? How do you know who all FN would vote for? And why in the world would a candidate in a municipal election try and win the favor of a race of people to get votes...racist again.

Its racist to assume all FN will vote for the same person.

I don't understand this article.
Thought Provoking
Comment by Gary on 8th November 2011
An interesting challenge.. I live and work in Terrace, I am a First Nations or Aboriginal person. With much respect to all, I cannot say that I have experienced different treatment than any other patron of any business in Terrace. I appreciate the service that many stores, restaurants and gas stations provide in Terrace. They are a positive reflection of all the goodness and respect in Terrace from all.

I will vote in the civic election and I will vote for the candidates that I feel are best for Terrace.

As First Nations or Aboriginals, we do spend significant amounts of money for culturally related functions. Our friends and family travel to Terrace from other parts of the region such as - the Stikine, Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Coastal FN, the Hazeltons, the Nass Valley

I experienced the respect and good service from restaurants and stores such as WalMart, Canadian Tire, RCWC, Save-On, Safeway, Sonny's Collectibles and Gemma's. A big tip of the hat to the hard working staff (read JP) at MacCarthy Motors as well and the list goes on.. Thank you to all.

I find a warm smile and genuine appreciation of good service helps the mutually beneficial transaction. I also understand that as customers or a target market, we have significant influence.

I will vote in the election.. and I will vote for Terrace! :-)

Verbose Challenge..continued...
Comment by Shelby Raymond on 8th November 2011
We can allspeak our truth, it is important that we do and that we respect each other and create a safe community forum to do so. Only when we all realize we don't have to, nor do we have right to, treat people differently based on such points of "difference" as race and religion and ethnicity and gender... And the myriad other ways we choose to define ways of being. What foolish creatures we are to divide humanity this way.

These divisions have created horrible wounds, ones that don't end with a word or time. Institutionalized racism and genocidal policies have reated wounds that fester and harm for generations. It took hundreds of years to destroy communities, families and cultures; it will undoubtedly take equally as long to heal. The wound of harm is deep and enduring. The medicines for these gangrenous wounds of hatred, will be complicated, very often hard to swallow and slow to take effect. During the years to come our treatment of each other will require the participation of all of us and a deep understanding that we have more in common than separates us; differences and disagreement are okay and there are people who do undesirable things in every family, community, every culture, and every state.

I believe it will be the understanding of our similarities AND the appreciation of our different ways of being that will heal us all. I have heard some folks express fear that they will lose their homes or be subjected to the same horrible treatment that our predecessors put the ancestors of the First Nations, Inuit, Metis and so many others through. Maybe some folks (those who have engaged and/or supported separatist/racist behaviours, policies and institutions) fear they will be treated the way they have treated people. It is certainly possible, isn't it? Really, when you think of how badly some people treat others, it wouldn't be all that surprising.

My experience though, is that people who have been treated horribly usually remember what it was like and couldn't bear treating someone else the way the same way. Some folks will probably be so deeply scarred, hurt and angry that they will do unto others as was done unto them. Most people though, will rise above and their goodness will shine through - as it has for so many years, through so many cruelties and we will all learn and be humbled and our communities will be stronger than any of us ever dreamt possible.

I believe a pathway out of this is through education. I believe a pathway out of this is through suspension of judgment. I believe a pathway out of this is by doing exactly what Nancy is urging folks to do - to participate in exercising their right to vote, to engage all of our peoples and make a comfortable and safe space where we can all contribute equally to our collective future. I believe a pathway out of this is understanding we all have opinions and different waysof being and that is okay. Differences are good things. Agree to disagree and work together to find a path we can all share. I believe a pathway out is to simply be gentle with each other, by recognizing we are all doing the best we know how to do; we all make mistakes; we all have good and bad moments/days and yes, some folks are really gonna muck things up but we are all on the same journey. That is a future I believe in.
Challenge to everyone in our communities...
Comment by Shelby Raymond on 8th November 2011
Thank you for speaking honestly Nancy. That took a lot of courage and I applaud you for it. You have begun an important dialogue for our communities - one that is filled with a history of pain, and one that we must all address together so that we can all heal.

I'm not First Nations, Inuit, Metis or a person belonging to any traditional minority. Without choosing to, grew up benefitting from racism, with white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. I know there have probably even been times that I have unwittingly participated in racist acts. I have witnessed the cruelty of racism (prejudice + power = racism), throughout my life and it has harmed me as well. Please don't get me wrong - in no way have I been hurt as deeply by racism or genocidal policies as have folks who endured cruelties such as slavery, forced labour, being stolen from their families, being denied cultural practices, shamed because of their essential nature or the myriad ways the First Nations, Inuit, Metis, Chinese, or any other tortured member of a minority group. I have been, in contrast, extremely fortunate.

However, I have been denied the friendship and involvement of good people because they have learned, as the result of institutionalized racism, to fear, to hide, to run, to avoid and to only trust those who are identifiably like themselves. That result of institutionalized racism hurts not only individuals, but our society as a whole. What gifts have been lost, what talents, inventions and discoveries have been lost because of humankinds inhumanity? Is it possible to suspend judgment? Is it possible for humans to NOT judge other humans as being lesser? Is it possible to NOT be racist?

I believe that I cannot say I am not racist because I have been a member of societies that have within them racist structures, policies and attitudes and, even though it has not been by choice, I have benefitted from racism. I have been barraged,throughout my lifetime, by racist words, sentiments, opinions, and propaganda.

I suggest that I can only claim to be anti-racist; I must consciously choose to avoid and eradicate racism from my life. Since I was old enough to know about racism (my world was shattered the day I learned what racism was-I named it my R-day), I have worked earnestly to be anti-racist and to address or confront it when I see it. Since R-day I have yearned to, wished to and hoped for the magic wand that would eradicate racism from our world and prayed for the ability to help heal the people who have been killed, tortured, abused, punished, segregated and harmed. I have had dreams where I stood on a mountaintop and screamed, for all to hear, I am sorry for every instance of racism, intolerance, cruelty and genocidal policy that people who are living and those who have passed on. I cannot heal anyone or undo what has been done, and I have always felt helpless, angry, hurt and frustrated to know that the past cannot be undone.

However, discussions like this can help us heal some, and to find a path where we all know the truth and beauty of our equality and the intrinsic value of every member of our communities. Some folks are going to be extremely angry upon reading what Nancy wrote - perhaps out of pain or perhaps out of fear, or a mix of so many other relevant emotions. They will probably be pretty ticked off by what I write as well! That is okay because I believe this is an invaluable discussion, and I am fairly accustomed to annoying some people when I express my opinion.

I know some folks are going to react defensively to this discussion. "I have never treated anyone differently because of the colour of their skin!" "it isn't fair to paint us all (non-minority) with the same paintbrush!" "I am not racist - I have friends who are native..." "yah, throw out the racism card....that isn't going to do anything but cause problems..." "well if they are being labeled as...(fill in the blank- lazy, drunks, thieves...) then where do ya think the label came from! Why just the other day I saw..." and on and on...

And you know what? They'd be telling their truth.

And folks who fit into the minority label would be speaking their truth when they said things such as, "the first thing THEY think when they see us is...(fill in the blank).." I hate going shopping because they have someone follow me the whole time I am in the store." "more folks who look like me are arrested because they focus on us." "I have to be (fill in the blank...better, faster, work harder) because I am a member of this particular group of people." "Just because I appear to be (Native, black, Asian, Portuguese, French...) THEY expect me to be an example or a token for every single person who is.," and on and on...

Continued in my next post...sorry this is so long, I havebeen wanting to say this for 35 years and have finally found the words...
Thanks Maggie
Comment by Blah! on 8th November 2011
I am with you Maggie-Jo! The article is just trying to insinuate "ALL FOR FIRST NATIONS, DOWN WITH THE WHITE MAN" First Nations GOOD White Man BAD. Quite frankly, its getting old already.
Hate Literature
Comment by Big Jim on 8th November 2011
I think this article is nothing but hate literature.

If it were written about any other ethnicity you can dream of, it would be just as offensive.

You can almost imagine Hitler writing this article and substituting National Socialists for first nations, and commies, jews, or what have you for everyone else.

There are a lot of prejudiced people towards first nations, and there are a lot of first nations prejudiced against others, including first nations from other bands, or other ethnic minorities. Personally I don't care who or what someone came from, it's not like they had a choice in it! We are all isolated in this remote area, few know we exist and fewer care if we live or die. It is pointless thinking along racial lines in how we conduct our lives. If battle lines are drawn, people will simply pack up and move away, leaving the endless fighting and bickering to people who think the colour of your skin is more important than who you are. Won't Terrace be a fine place to live then?
The Dance
Comment by Christine on 8th November 2011
I agree....we are still discriminated as a race. My question....what am I gonna do about it. I don't pay attention to the bad stuff that continues to happen to the First Nations people. I remain polite, smile and use my manners. Changing one heart at a time. I don't get into the division that happens in this community. I grew up here. This is the hometown I was raised in. I have another home in the Nass Valley which I am connected with, I understand my cultural obligations.

We as first nations do a very special dance that we have had to learn to do. With each generation we get better at it. I too work fulltime and pay my taxes. I am a contributing member of this community and my first nations community. The dance is the ability to participate and be a part of the non first nations community and then shifting to my original community that brings life to me and my children. I have cultural obligations that I continue to fill. I have had to teach my children to do this dance also, as well as educate some non first nations on the dance we struggle to learn.

There are barriers that have been created over time by others and ones that we, ourselves, have created. I feel we have the knowledge and the heart to continue growing as First Nations people. It is my job as a mother of the upcoming community members to teach them to 'act' equal and eventually the rest of the community with catch on.

As for the political process? I don't feel safe in that arena. Hopefully in time that will change for me and the rest of the First Nations community here in Terrace

Why do we always have to be the one to extend the olive branch? I don't know. What I do know is, it continues to build me into the person that I am as First Nations.....True North, Strong and Free !
Thank you for the feedback Maggie Jo...
Comment by Nancy on 8th November 2011
I guess I could have mentioned that if we involve ourselves in the democratic process that we might be heard and be deemed as competent, hard working and worthy of being included in the decisions made for this City.

When a person is accosted with racism each day they leave their homes it tends to wear on them.

My intention is to light a fire under the first nations constituents. What I wrote was the cold hard truth about the situations of everyday living in Terrace for a First Nations person.

I have a full time job and pay my taxes, yet this seems not to help when I am being followed in a store under the suspicion of being a shoplifter, or when I pick up my prescriptions, or when I buy a half a case of beer, or get the picture (Just because I am First Nations).

The end result I am trying to achieve is Unity and Inclusion for the all of Terrace. Why is it always the First Nations people that have to extend the olive branch? To ignore the remarks and be nice?
Comment by marie on 8th November 2011
very well said - all of it is so true - i personally went shopping to spend my money at a few stores at terrace, they were not nice. didn't come over to see if they could help me. i left and will never return to those stores. and yet some places are so helpful - such a big difference. good for you Nancy
Sounds like a divisive plan to me...
Comment by Maggie Jo on 8th November 2011
I was hoping upon reading this article that it might encourage all First Nations to vote in common efforts to better the lives of all in the area. I was wrong.

The article wreaks of hate towards Non First Nations with the "we/us/them/you" attitude..insinuating that all First Nations should vote to better their own lives with the "we'll show them" attitude.

And to end stating our City Council disrepects First Nations (as you said...the ones with all the money who keep this town up and running) is outrageous.

This article is so badly written; insinuating more of a division between races in our Community than unity itself.

What a shame.
well said
Comment by matthew daratha on 8th November 2011
i love it
Vote with your dollars
Comment by anon on 8th November 2011
That's what we have been doing for years . There are very few things in the shops here that can not be bought online for less . We generally get more for less and no bad attitude . As for a first nations person on the council nice thought . How about one in the chamber of commerce . How about the trail reaching all the way to the rez. Terraces welcome mat for the people of kitsumkalum is the hard shoulder of the highway . It's shameful to see moms,dads and kids being sprayed by road dirt and rain while walking to terrace to spend there hard won money . But then terrace has the sort of welcome mat out for the people of thornhill , a dirt track between a cliff and road . Why would any of them spend money in terrace ? I only wish that Kitsumkalum had some shopping but then it's early days.