By Kelly Anne Smith
NORTH BAY – The Chief of Nipissing First Nation sends well wishes to the controversial ice fishing hut owner despite his insistence on the removal of net fishing in Lake Nipissing.
The man who first made the public aware about the discriminatory ice fishing hut advertisement has shown compassion as well.
The owner of ice huts advertised on Kijiji to rent them out. The ad had a discriminatory warning. “Please no Status Card users. You are not welcome in our huts.”
Chief Scott McLeod accepted a public apology from Marc Hyndman for writing the ad.
“Although there is no excuse for this type of behaviour anytime, anywhere, there comes a time when we have to put aside our outrage and anger and start to draw our focus on moving forward,” reads part of Chief McLeod’s statement on his Facebook page.
Simultaneously as Marc Hyndman was being contacted to comment on an online post that said he was quitting the business, a message was received from Tom Willoughby Couchie about what was a fake iphone post.
Tom Willoughby Couchie first sent the ad saying no to Status Card users to Les Couchie to post on Nipissing First Nation Voices on Facebook. Now Willoughby Couchie is asking people to stop bad behaviour toward Marc Hyndman, specifically spreading false online posts about him.
Willoughby Couchie posted the following statement on his Facebook page after seeing a fake screen shot saying the ice shack business had closed.
“There are people that are making ads up about Ice Hut.ca. like that it’s for sale and to come and get anything you want for free. Please don’t post them here. Everything so far has been done the right way so let’s not start stuff that is not true.”
Writing back January 5, Marc Hyndman confirmed it was a fake post.
“I have never said I was giving my huts or equipment away or for sale, not once. We are operating, I have five of six huts on the lake and we have bookings. We do hope to receive the Chief’s Approval and we do want to negotiate on many fronts, however getting to know the chief and his family is important to me first. We do not want to dictate to any party. We do want to negotiate peace and work on trust.”
Hyndman also wrote back demanding an end to commercial netting on the lake. “We still want to hear a joint declaration ending commercial netting on Lake Nipissing after a ton of negotiations.”
Comments of disbelief have erupted online about Hyndman’s brazen demands after his huge cultural misstep advertising on Kijiji. Chief McLeod was not surprised that Ontario’s Chief Human Rights Commissioner stepped forward to speak up on the issue. “I think we all knew that,” he added about her tweet online.
On January 3, Renu Mandhane tweeted: “Denial of service to someone because they have an Indian Status Card is discrimination on the basis of Indigenous ancestry. It’s illegal.”
After reading emails by Marc Hyndman, Chief McLeod questioned his capacity to understand complexities such as Aboriginal/Treaty Rights, Constitution Law or Supreme Court rulings in this situation.
“I’m not sure what I’d be apologizing for – no apologies forth coming. I believe the media has squeezed enough mileage out of this unworthy news story and we should move on with the lesson that frustration or lack of capacity to understand complex issues are not justifications for racially discriminatory comments.”
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