by Tony Belcourt
I would first like to thank Edith Cody-Rice for her article to expose the ugly racist situation faced by the Doiley-LaVictoire family. I also want to commend Mayor Lowry for her response and also thank the Millstone News for publishing these articles and bringing this story to public attention. As an Indigenous person from Alberta who knows well the hatred and prejudice of those in Ontario who enthusiastically sent troops to fight against our people and to hound Louis Riel to the gallows, I must say I was very apprehensive about retiring to Almonte after being an advocate in Ottawa for the Metis people for over four decades.
Having been here for 6 years now I could not imagine how wonderful an experience that has turned out to be. We have been welcomed by everyone we’ve met and I was extremely impressed with the good work and deeds of the Mississippi Mills All My Relations group. But recent events of racism have disturbed me. Learning of the horrible situation of Ms. Doiley-LaVictoire was a shocker. But I was also recently surprised and concerned to see the damage done by vandalism to the Chinese restaurant on Bridge street and the burning of the Pride flags taken down from the museum. Moreover, I have long felt unease about the large Confederate Flag on a building near the Blakeney Rapids.
Regretfully we are all learning of the deep seated undercurrent of racism that is becoming very apparent in our “Friendly Town” of beautiful Almonte. Thankfully community leaders including our Mayor and our news media are addressing this head on. Racism is a learned behaviour. It is taught and passed down. It must be exposed and addressed. As a proud resident of Almonte I am grateful to know this is being done.