Heavy Head clears air about call­ing city racist


Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - J.W. Sch­narr LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD

May­oral can­di­date Martin Heavy Head has clar­i­fied state­ments made to a national me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tion where he sug­gested Leth­bridge could be the most racist city in Canada, stat­ing he was us­ing hu­mour to high­light a se­ri­ous is­sue.

Heavy Head has been high­light­ing the need for dis­cus­sion on racism in Leth­bridge.

On Oct. 2, the Aboriginal Peo­ples Tele­vi­sion Net­work ran a story fea­tur­ing three In­dige­nous can­di­dates run­ning for of­fice in Al­berta. Heavy Head was one of the can­di­dates pro­filed.

He spoke about the im­por­tance of be­ing vis­i­ble to First Na­tions peo­ple in the elec­tion, to show them that they are a part of the process the same as ev­ery­one else.

He also spoke of a “sharp di­vide” be­tween Leth­bridge res­i­dents and peo­ple liv­ing on re­serves, and that many res­i­dents only know about the home­less is­sues faced by some FN peo­ple.

He then called out Leth­bridge on its racism.

“Win­nipeg is of­ten la­belled as the most racist city in Canada, but I said, ‘You know? They haven’t been to Leth­bridge. I think we could win this if they re­ally spent time here,’” he said.

Heavy Head clar­i­fied the state­ment by email, say­ing he was us­ing hu­mour to deal with the is­sue.

“Well, it is a rather silly thing to say, I haven't been to ev­ery city in Canada,” he stated.

“I made the com­ment in jest, wherein hu­mour is of­ten the only refuge to cope with the hor­ri­fy­ing daily ex­pe­ri­ences that racism in­flicts upon ev­ery­one.”

He fur­ther noted there is an is­sue with the nor­mal­iza­tion of

racism in Leth­bridge, to the point that mi­nori­ties “are of­ten si­lenced and marginal­ized fur­ther for speak­ing out against racism.”

“Racism is in­tractable and non­quan­tifi­able, so to say that any city in Canada is ‘the’ most racist city in Canada is ridicu­lous,” he stated.

“How­ever; that does not mean that Leth­bridge is a non-racist utopia. There does in­deed ex­ist toxic and sys­temic racism within this city, which is one of the rea­sons why I'm run­ning.

“To confront and cure that tox­i­c­ity.”

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Martin Heavy Head

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