Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron is weighing in on the Cowboys and Indians-themed party celebrated over May-long weekend by students of Chinook High School in Lethbridge.
“It shows a real lack of respect and knowledge of our shared history. We wish it was surprising, but this kind of ignorance – this attitude – is Canada-wide,” said Cameron in a news release.
The students mocked the dress code, dance style, and use of the headdress by the First Nations. These, along with the language and culture of First Nations, were made illegal by the Canadian government at one point in history and then systemically attacked through the Indian residential school system.
“It’s sad to see the great-grandchildren and grandchildren of our oppressors don clownish versions of our traditional clothing, trappings of a culture First Nations were once explicitly forbidden from practicing,” said Cameron.
Educators, students and parents need to examine why they thought such a party was appropriate, he added.
Cameron recognized Chinook student Tieja Medicine Crane for “courageously being the first to stand up and speak out about this.”
The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan.