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'Lack of education' about Indigenous issues leads to groups like Proud Boys: Glooscap chief

Glooscap Chief Sidney Peters said groups like the 'Proud Boys,' who disrupted an Indigenous demonstration in Halifax, stem from a lack of education.
Glooscap Chief Sidney Peters said groups like the 'Proud Boys,' who disrupted an Indigenous demonstration in Halifax, stem from a lack of education.

GLOOSCAP, N.S. —  On Canada Day, five members of a group called the Proud Boys, a self described fraternal organization of "Western chauvinists" disrupted an Indigenous-led protest in Halifax.

The five men were dressed in matching polo shirts and a Red Ensign flag, which was Canada’s flag prior to the maple leaf.

The Indigenous-led demonstrators were protesting near a statue of Edward Cornwallis, the founder of Halifax, who issued a scalping proclamation offering payment for the scalps of Mi’kmaq people.

The five white men who disrupted the rally are  members of the Canadian Armed Forces and could face disciplinary action.

Videos of the incident show confrontation wasn’t violent, but the tension was palpable.

Glooscap First Nation Chief Sidney Peters said these groups stem from a lack of education on Indigenous issues.

“It’s truly unfortunate that we still have individuals like this that are still out there,” Peters said following a funding announcement in Glooscap.

“And for the individuals who were involved, in the positions that they’re in, protecting our country, and to think they’re going around getting involved with this, it’s not good,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that the education is not there.”

Peters said he’s hopeful  the Proud Boys and similar groups won’t disrupt Mi’kmaq events in the Annapolis Valley.

“When people don’t want to listen to us, that’s unfortunate,” he said. “Our Mi’kmaq people just want to talk about their history - what’s happened in their past.”

Communities, Culture and Heritage minister Leo Glavine said it was a very unfortunate situation, adding he’s confident the five men involved will be dealt with appropriately.

“A very unfortunate event at an important moment celebrating their culture and their advocacy,” Glavine said.

“But I think it’s being well-handled, right from the top down, in terms of National Defence,” he added.

“I don’t think the province will necessarily have to try to orchestrate a good resolve to this.”

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