Keith Russell, the provincial Progressive Conservative member for Lake Melville, says he is of Inuit descent and was raised to respect the beliefs of others.
But in a media interview last week, he dismissed the spiritual claims of native protesters as “mumbo jumbo.”
“With regards to my recent comment about Muskrat Falls, I apologize for my poor choice of words,” he said in an emailed statement.
“My comment was not intended to be a blanket statement about spirituality or aboriginal people in general. Aboriginal cultures have a rich history in this province and I am proud that my family and I share in that.”
Russell’s constituency assistant Shannon Tobin said he was travelling Tuesday and unavailable for an interview.
Russell made the remark on CBC Radio’s “Labrador Morning.” He also warned people to be wary when native opponents of the proposed development refer to land around Muskrat Falls as sacred ground.
“You have people talking about Mother Earth and sacred waters and, you know, spirits flowing through these rivers. And that’s all well and good. But people have to understand too that there is a need for this development. We do need this power.
“I don’t buy into the mumbo jumbo about the trail leading to the Muskrat Falls site as being sacred ground. You can romanticize and sensationalize that particular piece of land all you want, but it is a resource.”
Premier Kathy Dunderdale has said the comments were unacceptable.
I wonder how Russell thinks his comments were not "a blanket statement about spirituality"? If they weren't a blanket statement, I'd hate to see one.
And he's of Inuit descent? What does that mean: that he has a few drops of Inuit blood?
Despite his alleged pride in his heritage, it's not clear he understands the first thing about Native culture. In that respect, he's like Elizabeth Warren, Johnny Depp, and every other wannabe with an alleged Native ancestor.
Anyway, it sounds to me like he meant what he said. The only problem is he got caught spewing his anti-Native views.
When are dumb politicians going to learn that we won't tolerate their intolerance anymore? We're watching you 24/7, idiots, so watch what you say.
For more gaffes by public figures, see Newsman Compares Drunk Indian to Animal and Councilor Compares Town to Reservation.