The Assembly of First Nations Executive Committee Calls for Apology from Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal for Offensive Headline

Published: Mar 01, 2018News

(Ottawa, ON) — The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Executive Committee calls for an apology from Thunder Bay daily newspaper, The Chronicle Journal, for an offensive front page headline, and the AFN Ontario Regional Chief is seeking an immediate editorial board meeting to discuss this matter, and their ongoing coverage of First Nations. As of the time this press release was issued, the Chronicle Journal refused requests for an editorial board meeting.

“Today’s front page headline in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal is offensive and insensitive, particularly in a city that should be working towards healing and reconciliation between First Nation and non-Indigenous citizens,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde.

The March 1 edition of the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal featured an above the fold headline stating “Egg-toss incidents have police scrambling”. The story involved two men who had eggs thrown at them from a passing vehicle, with the perpetrators allegedly yelling racist insults about First Nations people at the victims. One of the individuals had to be taken away by ambulance.

“My request for an editorial board meeting with the Chronicle Journal to discuss this headline and their ongoing, poor coverage of First Nations people and issues has been denied,” said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. “AFN Regional Chiefs from across Canada are meeting in Ottawa today as part of our regular work. This morning we were focused on recent court decisions in Saskatchewan and Manitoba that underscore the need for action to reduce and eliminate discrimination and racism against First Nations peoples.  We all have a role to play in reconciliation, including media.  This sort of insensitive headline only serves to fan the flames of racism and increase fears for the safety and security of our peoples. We call for an immediate front page apology and concrete measures to ensure better and appropriate copy-editing.”

“We stand in solidarity with First Nations citizens, leadership and many non-Indigenous Canadians in Thunder Bay and across the country in demanding better. Our colleague from Manitoba, Regional Chief Kevin Hart, had just finished speaking about recent racist incidents that First Nation individuals from Manitoba had experienced when visiting Thunder Bay. People driving by were allegedly shouting ’Colten Boushie’ and ’Tina Fontaine’ while laughing and whooping. In this era of reconciliation, it still feels like far too many Canadians are living in the dark ages of ignorance and outright hatred towards the Original Peoples of these lands.  Racist headlines do nothing for all the good efforts toward reconciliation and further set all of us back.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
[email protected]

For the Chiefs of Ontario:

Bryan Hendry
Chiefs of Ontario
Senior Advisor
Policy and Strategic Communications