The following statement was released to SaultOnline.com Tuesday
Leadership from Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, Missanabie Cree First Nation, the Indigenous Friendship Centre and the City of Sault Ste. Marie met on February 29, 2020. Chief Dean Sayers, Councillor Karen Bell (on behalf of Chief Andy Rickard), Chief Jason Gauthier, Cathy Syrette and Mayor Christian Provenzano met at a sacred fire hosted by Batchewana First Nation to discuss racism and discrimination being experienced by Indigenous people.
In their own capacity and on behalf of their respective communities, the leadership of Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, Missanabie Cree First Nation, the Indigenous Friendship Centre and the City of Sault Ste. Marie stand together to collectively denounce racism, discrimination and intolerance. We encourage everyone to treat each other respectfully and to take the time to understand each other’s perspective.
All of us believe that the traditional territory of Bawating (Gathering place of the rapids) is a special place with much Indigenous history and that we can set an example for the rest of the country on how to develop and maintain respectful and productive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We are committed to working together, continuing our current initiatives and developing new initiatives for the betterment of our respective communities and to ensure that everyone feels welcome, safe, respected and valued as a member of our larger community.