Editor’s Note: The letter below, originally directed to the editor of the Eganville Leader, was sent to The Current this week with the following explanation: “I sent this letter to the editor of the Eganville Leader on October 2, 2020, in response to comments made by one of its columnists about Indigenous people. To date, the Leader has not published the letter, and I can only assume, after all this time, that the editor has no intention of doing so. Perhaps he didn’t understand it. The apologies offered by the Leader in subsequent issues of the paper, had nothing to do with the comments made by the author of the article.“
To answer Al Donohue’s question in his column, Seventh child of a seventh child, (The Eganville Leader, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020), no, the parents of the victims of the residential school system were not complicit in their children’s torture and rape and murder. As we have discovered in recent years, and as many people have known for decades, the residential school system came out of Ottawa’s attempt to rid the country of its First Nations’ heritage.
Donohue’s statement is outrageous in itself, but what is even more disgraceful is that it seems to have passed the editor’s desk without a whimper. I might be wrong in assuming that a columnist’s material is subject to editorial scrutiny at The Eganville Leader, but, if it is, how did this stereotype of the drunken Indian make it to press? Is it the policy of The Eganville Leader to allow columnists to write anything that they like, with impunity?
Al Donohue’s statement that “…drunken behaviour of some of the Aboriginal parents” … “caused their children to be taken away…,” is blatantly racist, and factually wrong. Many loyal readers of The Eganville Leader have been hurt and humiliated by Donohue’s claim. They deserve an apology.
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