By Letter to the Editor on November 6, 2020.
I would like to address letter to the editor written by Grant R. Harrington, Oct. 29.
As a non-Native person I find it very interesting that there would be such a concern about our Native neighbours getting a nice new learning facility for their people with help from the government. Many colleges are run by religious groups and the government helps to fund their facilities. Why would we want less for the Native communities? $28 million of tribal dollars has been invested into this campus.
Mr. Harrington suggests that this school will be in direct competition with the established colleges in Lethbridge. Red Crow College has been operating for over 30 years and has offered accredited programs and benefits for Native students. This is not a new venture for our Native neighbours. They also work in close collaboration with the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge College.
Red Crow College currently has six PhDs who are educators at their college, as well as elders from their community. The student base for Red Crow College is very large and includes other bands and peoples that are wanting to attend. They have beautiful schools from kindergarten to post-secondary education that have operated for years. Mr. Harrison’s comment regarding the future demise of this facility is nothing but racist, ugly and ignorant.
It was suggested by Harrington that there are residences and funding already available to Indigenous students at established colleges; haven’t we learned anything from the past? Indigenous people were basically forced to take their children out of their homes to be educated by churches, priests, nuns, ministers; paid for by government. This was from grades 1-9 and they lived in residences away from loved ones and their communities. After 150 years of sexual, physical, spiritual and cultural abuse, attempting to eliminate their native language, basically genocide, I believe this funding is a very small investment into decolonizing and reconciliation.
May I suggest that if you chose not to educate yourself on the past, present or future of Native people then don’t express your ignorant, uninformed opinion publicly. They are strong people who have suffered generations of trauma from colonization and they are working hard to solve that for themselves. The Native culture is rich in tradition and skills and the culture is striving and thriving with or without the support of our communities.