A statement from Adrian Raeside about Wednesday’s cartoon

I have been getting a lot of angry e-mails and tweets over this cartoon, from people who are convinced that it is a put-down of First Nations. For the record, I have absolutely no objection to the acknowledgement of the traditional lands of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

The cartoon is about the empty mouthing of a mantra that appeases the non-indigenous conscience without any meaningful effort to make things better. It is a perfunctory statement not backed by action.

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Why not mention the deplorable living conditions some have to endure on nearby reserves? Why not do something about the high suicide rates among young people in some reserves?

It’s easy to say we acknowledge First Nations territory. It’s not so easy to address issues that are ongoing and deplorable in the 21st century. It’s not so easy to make a real difference. We, as a society, can do better and we should.

A cartoonist has to walk a fine line on sensitive issues. Sometimes a cartoon misses its mark. I had no idea the cartoon would be taken the way it was. I never meant to imply anything negative about First Nations people.

The cartoon took a shot at the people who say the right things but take no action— they were the ones I was trying to offend. It appears I offended everyone but them. For that, I am truly sorry.

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