Sault Ste. Marie Municipal Councillor, Ward 5, Frank Fata, met with SaultOnline the afternoon of August 5, 2016 to address comments he recently made in a story posted on SaultOnline.com.
The story covered a peaceful protest that took place on Thessalon First Nation territory, July 27, 2016. A group of demonstrators, who were all members of Thessalon First Nation, had set up blockades heading into the Thessalon First Nation Band Office.
The Protest lasted for one day, ending at 5:30 pm.
A comment made by Fata garnered attention from community members, with some calling the comments as ‘racist’ towards First Nation people.
Fata told SaultOnline, “I deeply regret making the comments, and I wholeheartedly apologize for those comments. I made the comments as an individual, and I, in no way, was representing the City of Sault Ste. Marie Municipal Council.”
SaultOnline asked Mr. Fata about whether or not he has received cultural sensitivity training as part of his work with Municipal Council. “There is cultural sensitivity training being planned for the fall, and hopefully my schedule will allow for me to attend this year.”
Fata stressed that he has much to learn about First Nations culture and is hoping to learn and grow as an individual, as well as a Municipal Councillor. He said, “I welcome any opportunity going forward from this day on, to become better informed about First Nations people living in our immediate geography as well as Canada. I need to hold myself to a higher standard, and this has been a wake-up call for me.”
Fata told SaultOnline that a meeting with Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano is forthcoming.