Letter from John #Furlong’s former students to PM

November 26, 2015

Attention: The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 
justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould 
mcu@justice.gc.ca 

The Honourable Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Carolyn Bennett
carolyn.bennett@parl.gc.ca. 

Dear Sir/Madams:

Re: Burns Lake First Nations People and John Furlong

It’s time that our voices are heard.

We, the undersigned, call upon the Prime Minister to request that John Furlong step down from Share the Podium until we are heard.

In her September 2015 judgment, the judge made comments about us without hearing from us. No-one had time to listen to us. They should have talked to us before any decision was made.

The judge said Laura Robinson distributed a flyer, but we saw no flyer. We communicate not in writing, but by mouth. When we heard Laura was coming to Burns Lake, most people assumed it was to talk about residential schools. Laura talked to those people and, after they left, she talked to us—those of us who had had Mr. Furlong as their PE teacher. Many of us—-members of the Lake Babine Nations—-were not at the Burns Lake Band office.

The judge said Laura “contaminated” our memories. But she didn’t. We all have bad memories of Mr. Furlong, but over the years we haven’t talked much about them. It would be good if we talked more together.

When we saw him on TV, the anger came back. “Is he still around?” we thought. After the Olympics, we found out he hadn’t even mentioned Burns Lake in his book.

Someone said Laura damaged us. That is not true. Mr. Furlong was one who damaged us. He was part of a system that damaged our dreams.

Someone on the Whitecaps said on the Internet, “native people just want more money.” We never asked for money. We just wanted our stories heard.

Please direct your reply to Cathy Woodgate—cathywoodgate@hotmail.com.

Thank you.

Signed,

“Hereditary Chief Richard Perry”
“Hereditary Chief Ronnie Alec”
“Henry Michel”
“Maurice Joseph”
“Cathy Woodgate”
“Ronnie William West”
“Beverly Abraham”
“Pius Charlie” (Burns Lake Band)
“Molly Charlie
“Frank Alec”
“Ann Tom”
“Ruby Adam”

Copies to Media: Jesse Brown, CanadaLand jesse@jessebrown.ca
Sandra Garossino, National Observer info@vancouverobserver.com
Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer jenny@nationalobserver.com
Matthew McKinnon,The Walrus matthew@thewalrus.ca
Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee andrew@andrewnikiforuk.com
Bob Mackin, The Tyee bob.mackin@mac.com
Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight c_smith@straight.com
Natasha Hassan, The Globe and Mail comment@globeandmail.com
Michael Harris, I-Politics michaelharris@ipolitics.ca
Michael Huffington Post Canadian blog team, cablogteam@huffingtonpost.com
Jesse Kline, The National Post jkline@nationalpost.com
Kate Heartfield, The Ottawa Citizen kheartfield@ottawacitizen.com
Jordan Himelfarb The Toronto Star oped@thestar.ca, jhimelfarb@thestar.ca
Daphne Bramham The Vancouver Sun dbramham@vancouversun.com
Harvey Enchain,Vancouver Sun henchin@vancouversun.com

1 Comment

  1. For too long the voices of our First Nations sisters have been silenced. Please listen.

    Reply

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