Driftpile Cree Nation lifts Slave Lake boycott after meeting, apology for ‘stop feeding them’ councillor comment

EDMONTON — The Driftpile Cree Nation says it is lifting its boycott of Slave Lake following culturally insensitive statements made by a town councillor. 

It had announced the boycott last week following remarks made on Sept. 8 by a Coun. Joy McGregor that it denounced as “callous, cruel and racist.” 

“A lot of our (homeless) people are coming from Trout, Loon, Atikameg, Wabasca. They’re not even from our community,” McGregor said, naming several Alberta Indigenous communities.

“We need to work to get them home. We need to stop being so nice to them. We need to stop feeding them. We need to stop doing all these wondering things,” McGregor continued, without specifying what help is being provided.

McGregor as well as Mayor Tyler Warman both later apologized for the comments. 

On Nov.12, Warman met with Driftpile members in what the band described as “a difficult, but ultimately productive discussion.” 

“Effective immediately, and in furtherance of the good faith discussions between our respective parties, we will officially lift the boycott,” reads a Driftpile statement.

“It is time to acknowledge that our people have been in this region since time immemorial. We are committed to working collaboratively with the Town of Slave Lake on many issues affecting our region, and the time for healing must commence immediately.”

The Driftpile band is located west of Sawn River, approximately three hours northwest of Edmonton.

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