First Nations leaders denounce mayoral candidate who blamed Indigenous men for violence against Indigenous women


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Two top Manitoba chiefs think Don Woodstock is unfit to lead as one of the Winnipeg mayoral candidate’s Indigenous competitors slammed his comments suggesting Indigenous men are responsible for violence against women and native girls.

At a mayors’ forum Thursday night, hosted by the Winnipeg Women’s Council, Woodstock said “native” men don’t respect aboriginal women. He described this as the reason Aboriginal women face violence.

“From what I’ve seen and heard, Indigenous men and youth need to come to the table to address this issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women. That’s the connection,” Woodstock said.

“In most cases, if you talk to them and listen to them and listen to how they see and value women, it’s not the same as how I see and value women.”

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Deputy Grand Chief Cornell McLean called the comments appalling and inaccurate.

He said Woodstock needed to take a cultural sensitivity course.

“If he’s spreading false truths, he’s not going to be a very good candidate for mayor,” he said. “I think if he wants to run a smooth campaign, he should focus on the votes of the people of Winnipeg.”

McLean said the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls is systemic and rooted in the violent history of colonization, forced assimilation and removal of First Nations children from their families and Nations.

He suggested that Woodstock’s comments run counter to the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report’s calls to action.

“It doesn’t do any good when we talk about the truth and the humility being part of this report,” he said.

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Winnipeg mayoral hopeful Don Woodstock was sharply reprimanded Thursday night after telling a candidates’ forum that Indigenous men are largely responsible for violence against Indigenous women.

Woodstock also said at the forum that Indigenous men have too many sexual and romantic partners.

“Why do some young people consider themselves as the only thing that is good for them is to have several wives, several lovers, several mothers, several families?” he said.

Several mayoral candidates present at the forum criticized Woodstock on Thursday evening.

The lone Indigenous man and mayoral candidate on the panel, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, was not present when Woodstock made the remarks.

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette held a press conference on Friday where he denounced his rival Don Woodstock’s comments about Indigenous men being responsible for the violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

On Friday, Ouellette held a press conference to denounce the revictimization of Indigenous peoples.

“I guess we could ask a question: Are all black men violent? Are all white men racist? Or Asian? The list could go on and on,” he said. “Obviously we know these things are not true. It is wrong to categorize a people as one thing.”

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, who represents dozens of First Nations communities in northern Manitoba, also waded in.

“It’s appalling that there are individuals who have the mindset that would isolate a certain group of people in terms of domestic violence because domestic violence happens everywhere,” MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee said over the phone. from The Pas Friday night.

MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee says Woodstock should drop out of the race to be Winnipeg’s next mayor. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

“Most of the victims are victims because someone they knew personally assaulted them or perpetrated violence against them, so it has nothing to do with race and I don’t think a person who seeks political office should have that kind of mindset that [are] so old-fashioned.”

Settee said on the road to reconciliation, Indigenous people try to meet non-Indigenous people halfway and don’t need someone like Woodstock to spread stereotypes.

“He should give up racing and work on his personal life,” Settee said.

“It’s the responsible thing to do, and I think he should work on his own personal life. If he can’t help himself, he can’t help anyone else, let alone the city. of Winnipeg.”


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