July 15, 2015

Ontario camps feature mock ceremonies

Chief insulted by mock Indigenous ceremonies at two Ontario summer camps

By Julien GignacTwo southwestern Ontario summer camps catering to non-Indigenous boys aged seven to 16 conduct Indigenous-themed rituals, which include dancing around fires wearing headdresses, painted faces and bodies.

Kilcoo Camp in Minden, Ont. and Camp Ponacka situated near Bancroft, Ont. are privately owned and operated camps for boys which cost roughly $4,000 a month.

Neither shy away from taking part in practices that could be considered off-colour to Canadians according to pictures lifted from their websites that reveal campers and camp directors themselves donning headdresses and Indigenous regalia.

Some have painted their bodies red. Others can be seen standing stoically around towering fires.

Chief Lance Haymond of the Eagle Village First Nation in Kipawa, Quebec finds it offensive.

“Redface to them may be a sign of respect for our culture, but to me it’s an insult,” said Haymond. “I think there are two options: stop doing it, or bring in First Nations people who are close to the camp and work with them to bring in a cultural component that does not make a mockery of our culture.”

No comments: