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Paper Apologizes to First Nations for Cartoon

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports on the offense.

Metroland Media’s seven Simcoe County newspapers ran a cartoon last week that pictured the Pope saying “I’m sorry” to what appears to be an Indigenous woman and man, who respond “How $orry?”

Metroland Media is a subsidiary of the Torstar Corporation, and has newspapers in the Simcoe County communities of Alliston, Barrie, Bradford and West Gwillimbury, Collingwood, Innisfil, Midland/Penetanguishene, Orillia and Stayner/Wasaga.

Reg Niganobe, grand council chief of the Anishinabek Nation whose members include some First Nations in Simcoe County, said cartoons like that reinforce a stereotype that Indigenous people are only out for money when something bad happens.

When contacted for comment, Adam Martin-Robbins, Metroland’s managing editor for the Simcoe County newspapers, directed CBC News to a column he wrote that was published on Simcoe.com on Monday.

That editorial apology can be read here.

We apologize, in particular, to our Indigenous readers including our Beausoleil First Nation and Rama First Nation neighbours as well as the Métis residing in Midland and surrounding communities. We recognize the generational trauma of the atrocities related to the residential school system.

The cartoon was intended as a satirical look at how the Pope’s long-awaited apology to Indigenous people falls short without the Roman Catholic Church also delivering on its promise of providing compensation to residential school survivors. But this wasn’t the way to depict that opinion and we shouldn’t have published it. 

The CBC continued:

[Adam Martin-Robbins] wrote that the cartoon, which was drawn by Steve Nease, “was intended as a satirical look at how the Pope’s long-awaited apology to Indigenous people falls short without the Roman Catholic Church also delivering on its promise of providing compensation to residential school survivors. But this wasn’t the way to depict that opinion and we shouldn’t have published it.”

Nease wrote in an email to CBC News that he believes a papal apology is the first step toward righting the wrongs that residential school survivors faced from the Catholic church and that the Pope should “put his money where his mouth is, and compensate victims financially.”

“I know that many have been offended by my cartoon, and I regret that deeply,” Nease wrote.

“It was never my intention, or the intention of the newspaper that ran it, to cause such hurt.”

The full CBC story here.

As of this writing the cartoon remains up on cartoonist Steve Nease‘s Cagle Cartoons page.


© Steve Nease

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Ignatz
April/21/2022
@ 5:40 am

I think it’s obvious that the target is the church. “Words aren’t enough.” I’m surprised they took offense, since the cartoon supports their cause.

#2 Mike Peterson
April/21/2022
@ 6:42 am

As said even in the snippet of the story here, the First Nations people are offended by the suggestion of a motivation of greed rather than a search for justice.

Perhaps you need to have been following the story for this to be clear, but the cartoonist had an obligation to do just that, as did his editors. This is a significant failure.

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