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December 20, 2005

Sticks and stones

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Former Buffalo Sabres coach and National Hockey League coach of the year, Ted Nolan was greeted with racist taunts at a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game between the Moncton Wildcats and the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. Nolan is an Ojibwa of the Garden River First Nation in Ontario.

"Some fans started doing the war cry, the tomahawk chop, the shooting of the bow and arrows and saying some derogatory statements about my native background right from the get go," Nolan told CTV. "It hurt when I was seven years old and 17 years old, and I just turned 47 and it hurt as much as it did it back then."

Television images of the game suggest these were not scattered insults but most of the crowd, including security, deciding it was appropriate to support their side with racist insults directed at the opposing coach. The linked CTV article suggests the abuse continued after the game while SooToday reports police assistance was needed to get the team to their bus. This latter would appear to cast doubt on the credibility of those who claim Nolan mistook the meaning of the "tomahawk chops". While the Saguenéens club has issued an apology I think this incident is a reminder of a wider problem; one that gives many of us who might otherwise be sympathetic to Québec nationalism reason for pause. I believe it would be appropriate for Québec's Premier to address the issue.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 20, 2005 08:31 AM

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