Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 30, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
2 THE LETHBRIDOE HERALD Timday, April 30, The Cardston Indian debate Cardston students discuss discrimination BILL GROENEN photo 'The ones trying to get you into heaven are always the ones telling you to go to hell' CARDSTON Claims that residents here are treating Indians as second-class citizens have sparked a hot reaction from community leaders m the town. Community spokesmen say Indians from the nearby Blood Reserve get better treatment in the town than Indians elsewhere, and that most of the claims of racism are made by Indians just over-reacting to normal situations. Dennis Burt, president of the town Chamber of Commerce and a former mayor says no people treat Indians better than Mormons. But he says, many businessmen are hesitant to hire Indian employees because "as a general rule, they're not too dependable." Merchant Bill Meyer says he's a little surprised that with the amount of business the Bloods bring into the town, there aren't more Indian employees working in white-owned businesses. Family operation But, he adds, most of the businesses are small and many are family operations. Fred Spackman, president of the Cardston stake of the Mormon church, says about 65 to 70 per cent of town residents are Mormon. "The attitude of the church would be the general town attitude, with some exceptions, and maybe those exceptions are the ones getting us into he said There's discrimination in Cardston, Dr. Spackman admits, but the situation exists in other communities as well. People here try hard not to discriminate, he says. But Everett Soop, an Indian cartoonist with Kainai News, a weekly newspaper published on the Blood Reserve, claims Mormons "are kind of biased because of their teachings." The church believes that Indians were cursed with a dark skin because they refused to follow God's teachings. When Indians again accept God's way, they will lose their dark skin and become white. "People in Cardston are so darned nice trying to get you into the church and when you don't join, they act worse than they did before. "The ones trying to get you into heaven are always the ones telling you to go to Mr. Soop charges. He says many Cardston residents treat Indians in a paternal way, like small children. Whites feel it is their God-given right to take care of Indians but native people were taking care of themselves before the whites came, he says. Takes credit By WARREN CARAGATA Herald Staff Writer Whites took away the Indian's independence, dignity and way of life "and now they try to help and take credit for it." Mr. Soop's comments that Indians are treated as inferior are echoed by students, both Indian and white, in Cardston schools. Frank Daniels, a Grade 10 white student, says some Cardston residents treat Indians as second-class citizens and that "a lot of people make them feel like they're not very intelligent." Because of this kind of treatment, says Kim Scott, a white Grade 12 student, many Indians develop an inferiority complex. And a Grade 7 Indian student in Cardston told The Herald that "some white kids think they are smarter than us we've got to make them realize that we're human." Mavis Oaka, an Indian student in Grade 12, says some white people still think they are superior to Indians, while another Indian high school student says there's a possibility that Indian students don't associate with whites because they think white students won't like them.