Nathan Cullen, right, looks on as Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader Chief Woos, also known as Frank Alec, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relation, Carolyn Bennett and B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser address the media in Smithers, B.C., Sunday, March 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Nathan Cullen, right, looks on as Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader Chief Woos, also known as Frank Alec, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relation, Carolyn Bennett and B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser address the media in Smithers, B.C., Sunday, March 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

10 Gitxsan hereditary chiefs call for BC NDP to remove Cullen as Stikine candidate

Ten Gitxsan hereditary chiefs have called for the firing of NDP candidate Nathan Cullen after he was caught on a microphone making comments about an Indigenous BC Liberal candidate in a neighbouring riding.

Cullen, a former federal NDP MP, is running for the MLA spot in the Stikine riding. His comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial, which were made before the all-candidates meeting last week in Smithers sparked criticism on Saturday, Oct. 17.

“He’s not well-liked — he’s Haida — in his own community,” said Cullen, referring to Cheexial. “The guy’s going to get bedrock 20 per cent.”

Cullen then went on to make fun of Cheexial’s nickname, Kinkles, which Cheexial told Vancouver radio station News 1130 means ‘Golden Boy’ in Japanese and was given to him by a family friend when he was a boy. In Japanese folklore, Golden Boy is a child of superhuman strength.

On Saturday, Cullen responded to a BC Liberals staff member’s tweet criticizing his comments.

“I apologize unreservedly for my comments and have done so personally to Roy. I need to, and will, do better,” Cullen tweeted.

On Monday, in an open letter to BC NDP Leader John Horgan, the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs called for the removal of Cullen as a candidate for the party and for Horgan to take “affirmative action on such disrespectful behaviour.”

Signed by 10 hereditary chiefs, the letter reads: “Anything less will be a further signal of disrespect to Indigenous people in British Columbia, and inconsistent with your stated commitment to reconciliation.”

NDP Leader John Horgan addressed the comments during a campaign stop in the Vancouver Island’s Courtenay-Comox riding Sunday, where he said Cullen feels “great remorse.”

ALSO READ: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

“The repercussions are that Nathan is feeling devastated by this on a personal level. I believe no one will work harder than Nathan now, to rebuild the trust with those who may have started to question that.”

This is not the first time Cullen’s campaign has come under fire. The hereditary chiefs also criticized Horgan’s party for choosing Cullen over Tahltan Central Government president Annita McPhee, with some critical that the BC NDP were going back on their equity policy.

In a separate statement, Haida Nation president Gaagwiis Jason Alsop defended Cullen.

“Former MP Nathan Cullen has worked hard over the years to represent all of the people of the North Coast with respect. Mr. Cullen has established a good relationship with the Haida Nation and his recent comments do not warrant his resignation or an apology to the Haida Nation.”

– with files from Katya Slepian, Terry Farrel and Jake Wray


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Smithers Weekly Police Blotter: Feb 12 – 19

Smithers RCMP open 83 new files including 15 property crime cases

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

(Black Press file photo)
Charges laid against two suspects in pre-Christmas home invasion

An 88-year-old woman was hospitalized after being bear-sprayed in the face Dec. 18, 2020

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Junction of Highways 16 and 37 Sunday morning. (Drive BC traffic cam image)
Drive BC reports hazardous road conditions throughout northwest

Advisories include road closure of Hwy 37 for high avalanche risk near Bob Quinn

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Most Read