AMC Confronts Unacceptable Statement by Springfield Councillor
August 14, 2023
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is calling on Springfield Mayor Patrick Therrien to take immediate action following racial and stereotypical remarks made by Springfield councillor, Andy Kuczynski, during a council meeting on August 8, 2023.
The unbecoming comments surfaced during a conversation about the construction of a facility for senior citizens in the community. During the discussion, Kuczynski stated: “If there is senior citizens and people who need assisted living or whatever from up North, they’re going to bring them here because they see truth and reconciliation… So, I know what that means – they’re going to bring lots of people, probably Native people, here to this community… At this point, we don’t have it, but it’s going to happen.”
These hurtful comments hamper the progressive strides of the principles towards inclusivity and understanding but also reveal a disturbingly tokenized understanding of the profound truth and reconciliation process.
The AMC stands unwaveringly committed to fostering an environment where diversity is celebrated and upheld. “Let it be unequivocally clear – divisive rhetoric and racial assumptions have no place in our discourse,” said AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “It is inaccurate to assume reconciliation means further displacing our people. Reconciliation is about confronting the overt attempts to systematically erase First Nations from the Canadian landscape – physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Reconciliation requires accountability from all levels of government to recognize and carry out their obligations as Treaty partners. Part of this means providing equitable funding and access to essential services for First Nations.”
It is essential to recognize that the responsibility for genuine truth and reconciliation extends to every member of society, and the process demands an unwavering dedication to learn about the legacy of historical injustices, engage in open dialogue, and take tangible steps toward healing.
“The path to reconciliation requires profound introspection, active participation, and a genuine desire to learn and evolve,” Grand Chief Merrick emphasized. “The comments from Councillor Kuczynski demonstrate a misguided understanding of funding issues on First Nations. Regarding consistent moratoriums, the jurisdictional responsibility to provide personal care homes on-reserve falls to the federal government which means Nations are forced to secure beds off-reserve for our beloved elders far away from family, culture, and community.”
The AMC calls upon the councillor from the RM of Springfield to reflect upon the gravity of their words and the impact they have on our collective efforts. Moreover, the AMC urges all individuals to embrace the shared responsibility of creating an inclusive community that genuinely embodies the principles of truth and reconciliation.
“The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs will continue to champion understanding, empathy, and unity as we move forward together,” concluded Grand Chief Merrick. “We must rise above divisive rhetoric and work tirelessly to create a future that embraces the rich tapestry of our society.”
For more information, please contact:
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.