I’ve been doing some more research on Kevin Annett and have found what is quite likely the most disturbing story anyone will ever hear about him. I’ve written before about how Annett has slandered indigenous elders like Jan Longboat, which is bad enough- but, today’s story is about how Annett slandered one of Canada’s most heroic residential school survivors. It put tears in my eyes just thinking about this story.
Willie Blackwater was originally from the Kispiox Reserve in northern British Columbia. In 1964 he was taken away from his family and forcibly relocated to the Alberni Indian Residential School on Vancouver Island. The school was run by the United Church. During his first week at the school Blackwater, who was 10 years old, was sadistically raped by a school supervisor named Arthur Henry Plint.
Blackwater tried to complain, and alert others twice after his abuse. Both times he was taken to Plint’s back room and beaten. Then, during the summer, Blackwater told his father about the abuse- in the fall, when Plint found out, he beat Blackwater so badly that he had to recover in the school’s infirmary. That was the last time, as a child, that Blackwater complained.
Pint was charged criminally, and in separate cases in 1995 & 1997, he was eventually sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Then, in 1998, 30 students, including Blackwater filed a civil suit. The church’s lawyers were brutal, and the questioning was hard. Eventually, when the case was finished, Blackwater stated “It was like being victimized again, only with an audience this time.” Eventually, the case was settled out of court.
On June 12, 2008, Blackwater was invited to the House of Commons where Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a historic apology to Blackwater, and all of the other victims of Canada’s residential schools. The apology was hardly enough to make-up for the pain they had received, but it was an important landmark.
If Blackwater’s residential school tragedy wasn’t bad enough- it got worse when he crossed paths with Kevin Annett.
Blackwater didn’t think very highly of Annett’s meddling with the affairs of residential school survivors. Blackwater told a reporter at the BBC that he resented that Annett, a white man who had never attended a residential school, had become the public face of the dead children. He stated that Annett had “disgraced” native people with his publicity seeking.
As usual, when encountered by someone who didn’t agree with his work, Annett went ballistic and began to publicly attack Blackwater. Here’s what Annett had to say about him in an article in December, 2008:
“Willie Blackwater has been the government and church’s residential school Poster Boy of a ‘good Indian’ since 1996, when the first lawsuits began against these institutions.”
Kevin Annett has been denounced by people of at least six indigenous nations- and, each time, he followed the pattern of responding with hate, slander and malice. His claims that he is supporting indigenous communities are nullified each time he does this. He doesn’t know when to stop- instead, he leaves a trail of hurt in his wake.
Those people who are still enabling Annett are as guilty as he is now. There’s no more excuse for being ignorant, I’m not the only person who is writing and exposing Annett- there are many of us out there now. Put simply- Annett, and his supporters, are as damaging to the survivors of residential schools as the people who abused them in the first place.
We should all take note of who Annett’s enablers are- people like Alfred Webre, Marci Lane, Alex Hunter, Jose Jesus Miranda, Lori O’Rorke, Bill Annett, Henry Mackow, Chris Roubis, and Doreen Agostino. There are many others including publications like the Salem News, Terrace Daily, Red Ice Radio, Critical Mass Radio…
It is no longer acceptable for any of you to quietly step-down now. The only honourable way out for you now is to stand-out and make a very public statement asking Annett to stop the damage he has been doing. You have been contributing to the pain of people who have already gone through too much.
What’s it going to be? Are you going to take the heroic route, and take-down Annett’s deception- or, are you going to be cowardly and let it continue?
And, Kevin, as it stands, you are no better than Arthur Henry Plint- in fact, you may be worse. To capitalize on such heinous crimes, when asked specifically to stop by their victims, is beyond shameful. Each time you attack and slander indigenous people you may as well be re-enacting the abuse they were subjected to at the residential schools.
You say you are a religious man Kevin. If this is true, you should be scared- very scared….