Publishers’ notes October 2021
- John Lagimodiere | October 10, 2021
One of the benefits of a career in the media is getting to meet a multitude of impressive people from all walks of life. I met Brian Gallagher early in my career. He’s impressive. His role as Indigenous Student Advisor at the SIAST Kelsey Campus (now Polytechnic) is pivotal to the success of thousands of Indigenous students. It was always nice to visit in the crammed student lounge on campus whenever we dropped off the paper for staff and students. A few coffees and talks about the challenges of the students and of being a person to help ‘Indigenize’ an educational institute showed the fine line Brian must walk in his position, but also the passion he brings to his job. He is a fine role model for those students, his co-workers, and the partners of Polytechnic.
His calm and quiet demeanor makes him extremely approachable, a gift when dealing with nervous and sometimes insecure students. Brian asked me to come in and speak to students. First on Louis Riel Day, then at other functions and we developed a friendship. Always nice to catch up. You can understand why he was honoured with an outstanding service award in 2019. Totally deserving.
Well, one year ago, Brian’s family was turned upside down when his daughter Megan went missing. A parent’s worst nightmare, yet all too common in the Indigenous community. Now Brian, quiet and unassuming, has been thrust into the spotlight as the spokesperson for his family, for his daughter Megan. To raise awareness, the family has led marches, bought billboards, and chased tips they have received from the community. Exhausting and emotional work.
But Brian has done it with class and grace. His words resonate across the media and parents of all races feel his pain and send that love and energy and support that the family needs so badly now. But more than a hug, the family needs to know about Megan. A walk the family hosted in September had the theme, “The silence is killing us.’ Someone out there knows something and that someone needs to talk. Please. Anyone who may have information on Megan Gallagher’s whereabouts is asked to contact Saskatoon Police at 306-975-8300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Truth and Reconciliation Day thoughts
Finally, the survivors of the Indian residential schools and those who didn’t survive are being honoured with a statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Judging from media coverage, events held around our country were solemn and respectful and focussed on the survivors and their families.
I went to two pancake breakfasts and then hosted a virtual seminar in the afternoon for 150 people who wanted to learn about our Canadian history and the residential schools. At the end of the day, we watched the TV special as we were too pooped and Covid concerned to attend the concert in Saskatoon for the survivors, so we handed off our tickets and went to bed.
Just by leaving my house to attend an event, I personally did more than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did on that day to honour our survivors and those who didn’t survive. Credit to PM Trudeau and the government for passing the law to make the day a federal statutory holiday, but Mr. Clueless could not have been more brain dead by taking a vacation in Tofino that day and not attending any sort of event for the survivors that he so preached about for the previous months. The optics were terrible.
Prime Minister Trudeau and his family could have taken a 20-minute drive and spent an hour or two at a community and sat with the people and just listened. Good for their children, the community and Trudeau’s reputation. But they didn’t. The optics were terrible. I scratch my head. This guy was supposed to be the Indigenous People’s Prime Minister…that’s what he always tells us anyways. Maybe it was just words. That’s odd coming from a politician.
Speaking of politicians, the FSIN election is in full swing with all five positions up for grabs in the October 28th vote. Make sure you check out our website in a week or two for something on all the candidates and the issues. In the meantime, hug your elders and your kids, wash your hands, and get vaccinated.