Deneza, tsaykuza, skyzah, masigh cho, tabi mussi Lheidli T’enneh. Thank you Lheidli T’enneh for allowing us onto your territory; the unceded, unsurrendered territories of the Dakelh people. Masigh Cho.
My name is Terry Teegee, I am the Regional Chief for British Columbia, I hold the file for justice for the Assembly of First Nations.
Far too often I have to come to these rallies to talk about justice, to talk about injustice, and to talk about what is occurring in Canada and the United States. We gather here in solidarity for George Floyd, and the Black Lives matter movement, and the “I CAN’T BREATHE” movement. These stories are far too similar for my Indigenous brothers and sisters in Canada and the United States.
More locally, here in Prince George we remember the Métis man who died in custody - Clayton Wiley, the Gitxsan-Wet’suwet’en man, who died in 2017 - Dale Culver; and more recently in April of this year 2020, my cousin’s child, my relative, Everett Riley Patrick. The violence and brutality is not new to me. This is not new to any of us. This has been a long road and an ongoing issue that affects not only the Black people in Canada and United States, but Indigenous peoples and minorities here, in what we call North America.
During this pandemic, we’ve seen and witnessed racism rear its ugly head, we’ve seen voices speak up against our Asian brothers and sisters, we’ve seen the deaths of Indigenous people in Winnipeg, we’ve seen the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and many others. Too countless. When will it end?
Today, we call upon the municipal governments, provincial governments, federal governments to start actions to fight racism.
Most recently, sadly, yesterday, we remember Chantal Moore, a BC First Nations woman from near Tofino, who died at the hands of Edmondson police department in New Brunswick.
It is the anniversary of the Missing and Murdered Women and Girls Report, that was released one year ago. No action has been taken and we demand action now!
Tabi Mussi, brothers and sisters here, if you read and hear the commentary locally here, I agree with Soili Smith that we don't need a reform of a broken system. We need a revolution! We demand justice and equality in Canada that we envisioned years ago.
Canada and the United States are built on stolen land. Canada and the United States, in many respects, was built by stolen people. Our Black brothers and sisters were stolen from Africa. Shame!
We cannot continue and perpetuate racism. We must fight it! All of us here, all of you who are gathered here today in solidarity. Brothers and sisters who have fought for equality and justice, there is something worse than COVID-19, a disease which has been perpetuated since colonization began. This disease is racism, we have the ability, we have the anecdote, we have the cure amongst ourselves to stop racism.
It is in our hearts, it is in our minds and it is in our souls to know that in a just society that we must move ahead together as one - as equals. As Martin Luther King stated, “don't judge our people by the colour of our skin, but the content of their character.”
For minorities, for Black people, in Prince George, in British Columbia, and in Canada, what we are here to do is to seek revolution, to seek change!
Masigh Cho! Thank you.