As Comox’s Bay Community Church and Living Waters Fellowship Church in Black Creek prepare to host Action4Canada founder Tanya Gaw as a guest speaker (Oct. 26 and 27, respectively), K’ómoks First Nation has published a statement denouncing the visit.
“Action4Canada is not welcome in K’ómoks Territory,” reads the statement, published Oct. 26 and signed by Elected Chief Ken Price and his entire council team (Coral Mackay, Candace Newman and Susan Lavoie). “Events that promote hate, division, and racism have no place in our community.”
The statement continues in great detail as to the Nation’s opposition to the visit.
“It has come to our attention that two events featuring Ms. Tanya Gaw and her organization, Action4Canada, are raising significant concerns. We vehemently denounce any actions that perpetuate ideologies rooted in hatred, division, and prejudice.”
On Oct. 25, the Tseshaht First Nation Elected Chief and Council made a similar announcement, prompting Char’s Landing to cancel a planned stop on Gaw’s tour.
As of Thursday (Oct. 26) afternoon, the Comox Valley stops are going ahead as planned.
“We are compelled to acknowledge that local elected officials and members of the greater community have shared their concerns with one of the churches, but the church has chosen to move forward in hosting this event,” reads the KFN statement. “We respect the principles of freedom of expression and differing perspectives. However, we firmly believe it is crucial for all members of our community to critically evaluate the content and messages propagated by events like these. Events promoting hate, division, and racism should never find a foothold within our communities.”
One point of contention with the First Nations groups is a specific post by Gaw on social media, where she called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission a “witch hunt.”
“Our community, like every Indigenous community in this country, has endured the painful legacy of residential schools, with living members who attended both residential and day school, and families who continue to be impacted by these systems to this day,” reads the KFN statement. “Denial of the realities of residential schools and the unmarked graves that have come to light is not only offensive but perpetuates the cycle of pain and trauma.
“We stand firm with declaring that Ms. Gaw and her organization, Action4Canada, are not welcome in our territory, which encompasses the Comox Valley.”
Attached is the complete press release published by K’ómoks First Nation.