Transcript: Thunder Bay talks racism: How do we fix the problem? | May 22, 2015

The screen shows an auditorium with an audience of around 30 people. Steve stands in front of them. He’s slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, and wears a gray suit. Behind him, two camera operators film the audience and two screens display the word “TVO.” In the middle, two women and one man are sitting on stools. One woman wears a white blazer, the other a blue coat, and the man a gray shirt.
A caption appears on screen. It reads “Thunder Bay Talks Racism – Where do we go from here?”

Steve says ABORIGINAL CANADIANS HAVE BEEN
HERE FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.
WHITE EUROPEANS CAME HERE,
I GUESS ABOUT 4 HUNDRED YEARS AGO, ALMOST.
I'M NOT HEARING THAT THINGS
ARE GETTING FABULOUSLY BETTER.
SO WHERE DOES YOUR
OPTIMISM COME FROM?

A man appears on screen; he is part of the audience and holds a microphone to speak. Behind him, a wall screen reads “The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.” The man is in his sixties; he has gray hair and a gray moustache. He wears a woolen sweater and has a green pin button on it.

He says I DON'T KNOW IF
YOU CAUGHT IT,
BUT I MODIFIED IT FROM
OPTIMISTIC TO HOPEFUL.

Steve says HOPEFUL, OKAY.

The man, Steve and the audience laugh.

Steve asks WHERE DOES THE
HOPE COME FROM?

The man with the moustache answers THE HOPE COMES FROM THE FACT
THAT THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE
ARE NOT TAKING
THIS LYING DOWN.
AND THEY'RE A LOT OF
NON-ABORIGINAL PEOPLE
THAT ALSO ARE QUITE
UNHAPPY WITH RACISM
AND THE VICTIMIZATION
OF PEOPLE.
SO, BETWEEN THE TWO, I'M
HOPEFUL THIS WILL BE OVERCOME.
AND THE OTHER THING THAT
I KEEP EMPHASIZING
WHEN I TALK TO PEOPLE IS
THE FUTURE OF THUNDER BAY
IS WITH THE
ABORIGINAL PEOPLE,
BECAUSE THE NON-ABORIGINAL
POPULATION IS GETTING OLDER.
AND THE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY
IS THE FUTURE OF THUNDER BAY.
IT'S YOUNGER, IT'S
GOT LOTS OF TALENT.
AND I THINK WE JUST HAVE TO
OPEN OUR EYES AND RECOGNIZE
WHAT OUR FUTURE IS
AND WELCOME IT.

Now, a woman in her fifties appears on screen. She has shoulder-length dark hair, red lipstick, and wears a black V neckline shirt. She also wears the green pin button. She stands to speak; the audience behind her listens with interest.

The woman with red lipstick says ONE OF THE THINGS I
WANT TO TALK ABOUT
IS THE FACT THAT GROWING
UP HERE IN THUNDER BAY -
I WAS RAISED HERE
SINCE THE AGE OF 4.
GROWING UP IN THUNDER BAY,
WE'VE HAD A LACK OF EDUCATION.

Steve asks WHO'S WE?

The woman continues THE ENTIRE SOCIETY OF CANADA,
TO BE HONEST WITH YOU.
THE EDUCATION SYSTEM
WAS ALWAYS ONE-SIDED.
SO WHEN I TALK ABOUT
THE WALK-A-MILE FILM
AND WE'RE OUT PRESENTING
IT TO COMMUNITY MEMBERS
AND COMMUNITY GROUPS, TO
OUR OWN CITY EMPLOYEES,
PEOPLE ARE NOW STARTING TO
RETHINK WHAT THE HISTORY WAS.
AND STARTING TO DEVELOP
A BETTER UNDERSTANDING.
THE FILM IS AN OPPORTUNITY
TO GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE
TO REFLECT ON WHAT WAS
MISSING IN OUR HISTORY BOOKS
IN HIGH SCHOOL,
IN GRADE SCHOOL.
GIVE PEOPLE AN UNDERSTANDING
TO SEE WHAT WAS MISSING THERE.
AND START TO LEARN AND
WANT TO LEARN MORE
ABOUT WHAT OUR HISTORY
WAS AS ABORIGINAL PEOPLE.

Steve stands in front of the woman speaking; she is in the first row of seats. Behind him, the woman with white blazer and the man with gray shirt appear. The woman with the blazer is Michelle; she has dark hair in a bob.

Steve asks DO YOU THINK IF WE KNEW
THE HISTORY BETTER,
THE NEXT TIME MICHELLE GOES
INTO THE SHOPPER'S DRUG MART
AND SHOWS HER STATUS CARD,
MAYBE THE CLERK BEHIND
THE CASH REGISTER
DOESN'T ROLL HER EYES?
IS THAT POSSIBLE?

The woman with red lipstick answers I BELIEVE IT IS
POSSIBLE.

Michelle appears on screen, she is in her late thirties; she is Native and smiles when she listens to those words.

The woman with red lipstick continues I ALSO BELIEVE IT IS POSSIBLE
THAT WHEN OUR CHILDREN
ARE WALKING DOWN
THE STREET -
I HAVE ADULT CHILDREN; I HAVE
GRANDCHILDREN AS WELL -
AND I'M POSITIVE THAT WE
ARE GOING TO MAKE SOME
PROGRESSIVE CHANGE IN OUR
COMMUNITY OF THUNDER BAY,
SO THAT WHEN THEY'RE
WALKING DOWN THE STREET
AND THEY'RE YOUNG TEENAGERS,
THAT THEY'RE NOT FEELING
WHAT WE FELT GROWING
UP IN THUNDER BAY.

Then, a man from the audience appears on screen. He is in his fifties and wears a gray and back blazer. He has a long beard and chin length brown hair.

He says I THINK ONE OF THE SOLUTIONS
IS YOU HAVE TO START
IN THE SCHOOLS
AT AN EARLY AGE.
THERE'S BEEN SOME PROGRAMS THAT
HAVE BEEN TRIED IN THE PAST
SUCH AS BROWN
EYE-BLUE EYE.
THERE'S A LIAISON PROGRAM
BETWEEN SOME HARDCORE
PEOPLE ON BOTH
SIDES OF THE ISSUE.
AND I THINK YOU HAVE TO GET
THE PARENTS IN THERE TOO
WITH THE CHILDREN AS
PART OF THAT PROGRAM.
TRY AND GET TO THE PEOPLE THAT
ARE HANGING OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA,
GETTING A LOT OF THEIR
INFORMATION FROM THERE.
AND JUST DON'T WANT TO
GET INVOLVED IN ANY TYPE
OF REALLY DETAILED DISCUSSION.

Now, another man from the audience appears. He is slim, clean-shaven and has short gray hair. He is in his late forties.

He says TO BE HONEST, WHAT I
THINK NEEDS TO HAPPEN
MOVING FORWARD AS A NATIVE
SOLUTION ACROSS CANADA,
WE NEED TO WORK ON
THE EDUCATION SYSTEM,
WE NEED TO WORK ON THE
FUNDING AND WHAT NOT.
WE NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE
THERE ARE SHORTFALLS,
IF THAT BE.
BUT BY THE SAME TOKEN,
WE NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE
WHERE THINGS HAVE GONE WRONG
WITHIN THE NATIVE COMMUNITY, THEMSELVES,
I AGREE THROUGH THE NATIVE
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM
AND WHATNOT, THAT
HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPENED.
DEPLORABLE.
AND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN
AFFECTED BY THAT.
NOW WE NEED TO LOOK AT HOW TO
MOVE FORWARD FROM THOSE THINGS
AND WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO
REINTEGRATE AND REEDUCATE
NATIVE POPULATIONS TO BE
HAPPY WITH THEMSELVES,
TO BE CAPABLE OF LIVING IN
THE CITY OF THUNDER BAY
AS A WHOLE, AND
CANADA AS A WHOLE.
AND EDUCATION IS
DEFINITELY PART OF THAT,
INFORMATION IS
DEFINITELY PART OF THAT.
I THINK A LOT OF WHAT
HAPPENS IN THUNDER BAY
IS THAT PEOPLE SPEAK TO THEIR
FRIEND WHO THINKS HE KNOWS
WHAT HAPPENED - OR HE
THINKS HE KNOWS – HE-SHE.
THEY THINK THEY KNOW THE
ANSWER AND NOBODY REALLY
GETS THE TRUE ANSWERS AS TO
WHAT'S HAPPENING OUT THERE.

A man in his late sixties appears on screen. He is bald, and wears glasses and a gray turtleneck sweater.

He says I HEAR A LOT ABOUT THE
SYMPTOMS OF THE DISEASE
THAT WE FACE IN THIS TERRITORY
AND FRANKLY ALL OVER ONTARIO.
THE LACK OF EDUCATIONAL
SUCCESS OR SCHOOL SUCCESS,
YOUTH SUICIDE, THE UNBELIEVABLE
RATES OF ABORIGINAL
INCARCERATION IN
THIS TERRITORY.
90 PERCENT OF THE FEMALE
INCARCERATED POPULATION HERE
IN THUNDER BAY ARE ABORIGINAL
WOMEN, AND THE SAME
GOES TRUE IN KENORA,
PROVINCIAL INCARCERATION.
IT IS SYSTEMIC.
UNTIL WE START
SAYING TO OURSELVES,
WHAT WE DEAL WITH ARE
SYSTEMIC INEQUITIES
IN THIS COUNTRY THAT HAVE
BEEN BUILT AND CREATED
OVER HUNDREDS OF YEARS -
AT LEAST FROM 1867
AND THE BIRTH OF
THIS NATION.
UNTIL WE START SAYING THAT
IT'S NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE
AND THAT POLITICIANS AT
EVERY LEVEL HAVE TO START
BUILDING CONSEQUENCES AND
STATING THAT THESE ARE NO
LONGER ACCEPTABLE AND WE WILL
MAKE THE CHANGES NECESSARY -
AND IT HAS TO COME
FROM BOTH ENDS.
IT HAS TO COME FROM THE
POLITICAL LEADERSHIP,
BUT IT ALSO HAS TO COME
FROM THE COMMUNITY.

As the man in his late sixties talks, the audience listens attentively. Most of them are middle-aged white people.

A black woman appears on screen, she is tall and slim. She wears a black tuque with a flower embroidered on one side.

She says RACISM IS WELL AND
STRIVING IN THUNDER BAY
AND WE HAVE TO
ADDRESS IT.
WE CAN LOOK FOR ALL
THE EXCUSES WE WANT;
IT'S NOT GOING TO STOP IT
EXCEPT IF WE TAKE OWNERSHIP
FOR OUR BEHAVIOUR AND
BECOME LEADERS TOO.
AND START SAYING TO
PEOPLE IT'S WRONG, STOP.
BECAUSE I SAY TO PEOPLE
IF YOU KEEP QUIET
WHEN YOU HEAR SOMEBODY
SAY A RACIST REMARK,
YOU'RE PART OF
THAT GROUP.

Then, a man appears. He has short dark hair and wears a brown shirt.

He says THE WALK-A-MILE SERIES -
AND I SAID IT HERE
THE NIGHT I WATCHED IT WAS
THE BEST HISTORY LESSON
THAT I'VE HAD IN
MY 50 YEARS.
I DIDN'T LEARN ABOUT
FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE
IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL,
HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE
OR UNIVERSITY OR
IN MY WORKPLACE.
SO IT WAS A GREAT, GREAT
STARTING POINT FOR ME.
IN MY WORK WITH SUICIDE,
I'VE HAD THE GREAT FORTUNE
OF WORKING WITH THE
FIRST NATIONS' YOUTH
OVER THE LAST
COUPLE OF YEARS.
AND ONE THING I LEARNED THAT WAS
REALLY SIGNIFICANT FOR ME
WAS THAT THE LIFE OF
MY TWO SONS
WHO ARE 18 AND 16, THE
LIFE THAT THEY LIVE
IS FAR, FAR DIFFERENT FROM 18
AND 16-YEAR-OLD FIRST NATION
BOYS AND YOUNG MEN IN
THIS COMMUNITY.
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.
AND FOR THEIR
PARENTS AS WELL.
MY QUESTION IS, AS A WHITE
PERSON IN THIS COMMUNITY,
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT
DISCRIMINATION?
WHAT CAN I DO?
Steve says GREAT QUESTION.
MICHELLE, GIVE
HIM SOME HELP.

Michelle appears on screen and she says WELL, I DON'T HAVE ALL
OF THE ANSWERS FOR SURE.
PART OF THIS FOR MYSELF DOING
WALK-A-MILE AND THE WORK
THAT I DO, IS REALLY WANTING
THE VIOLENCE TO STOP,
SPECIFICALLY - TO ALL PEOPLE -
BUT TO ABORIGINAL WOMEN
AND YOUNG PEOPLE
AND CHILDREN.
AND THAT VIOLENCE CAN
TAKE DIFFERENT FORMS.
AND THAT'S WHERE
I COME FROM.
THAT'S WHY I DO THE
WORK THAT I DO.
AND I THINK IN ORDER
FOR THAT TO STOP,
WE NEED TO START TO
HAVE DISCUSSIONS.
WE NEED TO START
TO GET HONEST.
WE NEED TO START TO BE
VULNERABLE AND TRUTHFUL.
AND HEAR TWO SIDES
OF THE STORY,
AND OBVIOUSLY OUR
SIDE IS LEFT OUT.
AND IT'S BEEN LEFT OUT OF THE
CURRICULUM AND EDUCATIONAL
INSTITUTIONS FROM
WE, SMALL CHILDREN,
ALL THE WAY UP TO
POST-SECONDARY.
LIKE SCOTT HAD JUST SAID
HIMSELF; HE HAD NEVER LEARNT
THAT IN SCHOOL, RIGHT?
SO THINGS LIKE THAT
I'D LIKE TO SEE.
AND I THINK THAT US, AND
YOURSELF AS A WHITE MALE,
IS STANDING UP AND
STARTING TO USE YOUR VOICE
ALONGSIDE OF US AND
DEMANDING, STARTING TO DEMAND
FOR EQUALITY REALLY
FOR ALL PEOPLES.
BUT FOR FIRST PEOPLES
IN THIS COUNTRY
AND WHAT DOES
THAT MEAN?

Watch: Thunder Bay talks racism: How do we fix the problem?