AMC Calls for Removal of Trustee Member from Mountain View School Division Over Racist Remarks, Demands Public Apology

April 24, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory – The Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is calling for the prompt removal of Paul Coffey from the Mountain View School Division Board of Trustees following a slew of racist and discriminatory remarks he made during a Public Board meeting earlier this week.

“Paul Coffey’s remarks demonstrate a deep ignorance that is counterproductive to the goals of reconciliation,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “Continuing to provide a platform for someone with such profoundly racist beliefs is as irresponsible as it is violent, and this rhetoric has no place in any public education system.”

Throughout the board meeting, Paul Coffey made several comments encouraging the use of derogatory language when describing First Nations people, referring to First Nations as ‘Indians’ or ‘red savages.’ Coffey also voiced his support of the residential school and day school systems, claiming these institutions were of great benefit to First Nations. Further, Coffey vehemently opposed efforts by the school board to fight racism, such as the public display of gender-inclusive signs and treaty land acknowledgements.

Beyond removing Paul Coffey from the Mountain View School Division Board of Trustees, the AMC is demanding the province provide First Nations-led anti-racism training to all members of the provincial education system. There is no excuse for Paul Coffey to have said those statements, and it brings to question the integrity of the board in attendance for allowing such rhetoric to be displayed without challenge. 

“School board trustees play a significant role in the overall direction and policies for a school division,” continued Grand Chief Merrick. “Their actions and words become policy, their beliefs become echoed in hallways of our schools, and this can deeply impact students and staff. Those in positions of authority within the education system must be committed to fostering an environment of respect, understanding, and inclusivity.”

The AMC believes removing Paul Coffey is necessary to ensure that the Mountain View School Division upholds these values. Furthermore, we would expect a public apology from Paul Coffey to fully acknowledge the gravity of his remarks and the harm they have caused and an apology from the Mountain View School Division for allowing and supporting this hateful presentation to go unchallenged.  

“Beyond his removal, myself, and every First Nations person in the province of Manitoba and across Turtle Island deserves a public apology. Enough is enough. It is 2024, and First Nations people will no longer tolerate such ignorance. We demand accountability and respect and will not settle for anything less.”

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba, with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.