Full disclosure: I have a professional history with Terry Nelson, the former chief of a Manitoba reserve who has sparked controversy this week by travelling to Iran in hopes of getting the mullahs there to back his demands for better human rights treatment for Canada’s First Peoples.
In an interview on state-run television in Tehran Sunday, Nelson and Dennis Pashe, another former Manitoba chief, referred to reserves as “concentration camps” and agree the high murder rate among aboriginals was “part of the ongoing effort by the Canadian government to exterminate” aboriginals.
So what is my connection with Nelson? On several occasions (including as recently as this week), Nelson has blamed Jewish media for the bad coverage he receives. Since a paper I used to work for was owned for a time by a Jewish family and since it was also very critical of him, Nelson often blamed our coverage on the owners’ faith.
In 2005, after we took Nelson to task for defending the anti-Semitic rhetoric of another former chief, David Ahenakew of Saskatchewan, he railed that if Ahenakew wasn’t exonerated the police would face more violence from aboriginals and First Nations people would come to hate Jews more.