The managing editor of the Melfort Journal is facing outrage over an editorial he authored in the paper.
In “When will it end?”, Greg Wiseman addressed FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron’s statement suggesting racism is a “daily reality” for Indigenous people.
“People make comments and jokes about every group,” Wiseman wrote. “Yet only one group seems to always be the ones claiming racism.”
The editor continued, suggesting racism goes “both ways” and directly comparing statements made against Indigenous people and those directed towards white people.
“Every time you hear someone say something like ‘Those Indians are no good’ there are some first nation’s people responding with things like ‘Those white guys have it all,'” he writes.
“But you don’t see Caucasian people standing up shouting discrimination.”
Wiseman also questioned increased education on Indigenous issues in schools.
“Should there be more Scandinavian history taught since the Vikings came to an impacted the history of Canada. French history or British?” he asks.
The editor does acknowledge the “every form of terrible” residential schools, but also asks “when is it enough compensation?”
Wiseman’s column quickly received backlash, with commenters on social media calling the piece “disgusting” and “stupendously racist.”
Eagle Feather News publisher John Lagimodiere, who also does Aboriginal awareness training, told 650 CKOM’s Saskatchewan Afternoon he was taken aback by the editorial.
“By talking about it like that, it minimizes all the issues,” he said. “It sets us back again.”
The Indigenous news editor added he doesn’t believe Wiseman approached the issue from a place of hatred, but a lack of education.
“People with white blinders on don’t understand the day-to-day frustrations of the Indigenous community,” he said.
“So these things come out, which show that ignorance.”
The swift criticism resulted in the Melfort Journal deleting the online version of the column, replacing it with a second piece by Wiseman called “Clarifying my opinion.” In it, Wiseman apologized for people being “offended by my recent words.”
“It clearly wasn’t interpreted as I had hoped,” he wrote.
However, he also stands by his position on discrimination.
“Many people make derogatory messages or comments to others,” Wiseman said. “In fact, I was just told I had a ‘typical white guy name’ by a person who didn’t want to even tell me their name.”
Lagimodiere said he wasn’t impressed by the apology.
“If he never meant to offend people, then why did he say there should be less information on issues, people should get over the residential schools and a 140-year governmental policy?” he asked.
“It’s disingenuous, but I think he heard loud and clear from the community on what’s acceptable and what isn’t.”