Thursday, December 19, 2002

L'affaire Ahenakew continue

Today's Globe and Mail reports that two of the men who raised David Ahenakew to prominence in Saskatchewan affiars--Lloyd Barber, the former president of the University of Saskatchewan and Edgar Kaeding, Saskatchewan's former agriculture minister--are urging that those who want to strip Mr. Ahenakew of his Order of Canada not do so. Says Kaeding:

"I think he got caught in a bad situation, and that should not nullify all the good he did," Mr. Kaeding said....."At that time, the natives didn't have a lot of good spokesmen," Mr. Kaeding said. "They've got a lot of good people now, but at that time there weren't many people in the native groups that were very articulate. But he was very much so and he was pretty reasonable."

There seems to be an undercurrent of "Well, we wanted to grab the first half decent guy we found...There's no way we would pick him again, knowing what we now know..." here. I wonder if the Globe reporter asked him to expand on this.

In recent years, Canadian Indians have often argued that there should be no talk of good intentions or mitigating circumstances when it comes to passing judgement on the white people who ran Canada's residential schools for Indians. Rightly or wrongly, Mr. Ahenakew is learning what can happen to you in the court of public opinion when such standards are applied to members of the Indian community.

On a related matter, I'm looking to see if anyone has posted a full transcript of his original remarks. If I see it, I'll pass it on.