Jim Bob Marsden, the southeast regional deputy grand council chief of the Anishinabek Nation, says he is disturbed to learn that a disgraced former school board trustee is seeking re-election.
After being censured in 2016 by the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board in Peterborough, Ont. for making insulting comments to a youth drum circle from Alderville First Nations, Gordon Gilchrist, has filed nomination papers to seek a seat on that board.
“We are in disbelief,” said Marsden in a statement to the press, that Gilchrist “would have the nerve to even think of running for a school trustee position when three local First Nations have students in these schools.”
Gilchrist stepped down from the board after a furor when he was alleged to have told a group of students that “there’s more to music than banging on a drum and yelling…I wouldn’t have been so eager to take over this country if I’d known that was the kind of music they played here.”
He denied making the comments but the school board conducted a third-party investigation that determined that the balance of probability substantiated the assertions.
Gilchrist had earlier been censured by the school board in February 2008 after a letter of his was published in a local newspaper where he made inflammatory comments about immigrants.
Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Marsden says the surrounding First Nations and the school board have worked to build a “strong and long-standing relationship” and Gilchrist’s intention to run goes against efforts of reconciliation as outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.