“You know, you’re the only person I’ve ever known who says they like Indians.”
– Expressed by a very nice person, a genuinely perplexed, elderly female, longtime musician friend, from among a very wide circle of mutual musical friends. She reflects honestly, the southern Ontario rural communities she comes from, and has lived in all her life. The same rural areas, indeed, in which I grew up. It is also the feeling – much more pungently expressed – among people with whom I’ve jammed, and played fiddle, some three times a week for the past ten years, and at countless Bluegrass and fiddle festivals I’ve attended in that time, every weekend from May to September, or jammed at during the day, and into the wee hours. It is also a passionate sentiment explosively expressed among my circle of university educated urban sophisticates – including dinner guests. Which is why I NEVER bring up the topic of First Nations Treaty or human rights, etc. among any of them. (Or anything to do with immigrants, Muslims, or other non-white minorities, because they all elicit the same response.)
Being an immigrant myself, I have always reveled in Canada’s multi-cultural mosaic of peoples. But always been hugely attracted to diversity in others, as opposed to an ethnocentric interest in the group from which I am sprung (Swiss). My father and I both, immigrated to meet new Canadians, not establish connections with overseas expat Swiss.
I have never sought out, or have even known any other Swiss for personal, business, social, or professional relationships of any kind. (Though I speak Swiss, German, as well as French.)
No one who is NOT an immigrant can ever hope to know or understand the overwhelming, all-consuming enthusiasm in the heart of a new immigrant’s passion for Canada.
Just relieving the mindset of that long-ago experience, installed in my heart by my enthusiastic father, still thrills me and overcomes me, almost 70 years later. I have NEVER had another emotional experience of any kind, that has ever matched it.
This “Promise of Canada” beats in my heart still. But instead of wasting my time seeking this furtive goal, I have long been a passionate advocate and activist to help bring it about, for all Canadians. In fact our company motto, which I created in 1979, was “Keeping Canadians in Touch with Canada.” It’s been a personal as well as a corporate goal for 40 years.
John Goldi, front and centre in the multi-cultural mix at Owen House CCRI residence, at Spadina and Wilcox in Toronto, 1962-65. Noel Sanguinetti, from Jamaica, left, was my roommate. Next to him is Ron Kishi (Japanese) from Thunder Bay, with whom I hitchhiked to Saskatchewan, looking for work, in 1963, and who said his sister was really keen to date me. Next to him is Toronto’s Ira Gluskin, (Jewish) who became rich enough to banner his name all over the place at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Beside him Norm Blair (Jewish) who dated my sister, whom he really liked, but who lamented to me that he could never marry outside the faith because his family’s clothing store in Ottawa would be ostracized. I have never seen any of them, again, (out of 16, who lived in the old Victorian house) over the past fifty years. But I can distinctly recall each and every one of their voices, laughing and talking away…
After living, for eight years, full-time, 24/7 – informally as an anthropology student, but formally, either as a high school teacher, adult educator, or school principal – with my wife, Joan Goldi, in utterly remote Indigenous communities (two years with CUSO, in the remotest corner of Uganda, two years among the Inuit, in the remotest part of Canada’s arctic, and four years in the remotest Dene village in Canada’s sub-arctic), we turned to filmmaking by going to work for CBC North in Yellowknife, NWT in 1979.
We had become hugely aware of the anti-Indigenous racism that infected the schools, and communities in which we worked. And decided to become filmmakers to try to combat the blight on Canada’s landscape. And start to correct the total dearth of suitable non-racist, educational films available on Canada’s Indigenous peoples, in Canadian schools, universities, and public libraries.
Because of our years of expert experience, in cross-cultural sensitivity, we soon became the preferred northern Canadian film and TV contractor, for communications clients desperate to reach out to Indigenous peoples with effective and culturally sensitive educational and documentary film and television programs including: the CBC, major corporations like Esso Resources, public service organizations, like St. John Ambulance, and Federal Government ministries like Justice Canada, and the Department of National Defence, Cadet Services Canada, Energy, Mines & Resources, and DIAND.
Canada’s Longtime Institutional Racism is Ingrained – Remember at this very moment (1979 and for decades after) ALL Indigenous art and artists were totally barred from the premier art gallery of the nation, the National Gallery of Art in Ottawa. White Curators there, ruled that Indigenous peoples were incapable of producing art that was on a par with favoured white artists, and shunted it all off as curiosity artifacts to museums, as quaint left-overs from a dying race and a disappearing culture – Canada’s official position for some 140 years.
In fact during Norval Morrisseau’s entire painting life, the National Gallery of Canada DID NOT purchase a single work from Canada’s top Indigenous artist, or any other.
Though a cultural pariah, among establishment elites, and a victim of their institutional racism, at home, Norval was justifiably hailed, outside Canada, by foreign curators and art experts, as a genius. And by countless private collectors in Canada and elsewhere.
But NOT by the establishment elites that set the tone, and set the bar for what passes for culture in Ottawa.
“I wouldn’t hang that shit in my house,” An Eaton family matriarch to a Waddington’s employee, as she dumped a large collection of top Canadian Indigenous art she inherited, to the auction floor.
So, school children, who visited the NGC, even in the 1990s – both white and Indigenous – picked up the curatorial message loud and clear: Indians and Inuit were second-class citizens or worse, and not fit company for the premiere white artists in Canada.
And the institutional racism extended to the National Film Board of Canada which was using tax money to produce racist films, for Canadian schools, and overseas propaganda, that showed drunken Indians. (Starblanket.)
So the very first film we made in 1981, funded by cashing in our teacher’s pension, was “Dene Family,” to try to produce a program that gave Canadian schoolchildren a more wholesome view of Indigenous family life than they were getting from the Canadian government institutions run by its “silks, satins, suits, and snoots.”
“Dene Family” won the “Best Short Film” documentary prize at the huge North American Indian Film Festival, in San Francisco. It was the first international film award ever given to a filmmaker from the North West Territories, which in those days included BOTH the western Dene territories and the eastern Nunavut Inuit territory.
“The Sharing Lifestyle” – Dene Family featured the Marlowes living on the land as an intrinsic part of family life. But the “sharing” ethos that ruled their Chipewyan Indigenous lifestyle, meant that I had to supply the props to illustrate them on the land, including: Georgie driving my 18′ Lund with my motors, using my rifles, my binoculars, my 10×12″ Hudson Bay Company white canvas tent, my stove I made from a 10 gal. drum, my 60′ fish net, my traps, my axe, my knives, etc. Georgie’s own stuff was all on “loan,” or being “shared” by friends and family who had none of their own.
We put that film in hundreds of schools and libraries across North America, Excerpts were shown on Sesame Street, and it was one of the ultra-rare private acquisitions that the National Film Board ever made. It bulk purchased the film for placing in NFB libraries in Canada and overseas. The NFB rarely bought films from private filmmakers.
But I still remember the heated argument among western Canadian librarians I heard at a film showcase at the Banff Springs Hotel, taking strongly opposing sides regarding our film. More than one viscerally snorted that it was NOT an honest or true depiction of Indian family life. “Why did you not show the drinking?” They refused to buy it for their audiences in their communities.
But street racism is not what my concern is with this blog. My work as a television documentary producer and educator, and in this blog, has targeted something far worse, and more insidious and damaging to society at large: Systemic Establishment Racism.
Especially relating to institutional, academic, and mainstream media malfeasance against Indigenous People.
To those who think that my language is sometimes too strong, I say consider this:
And consider this:
I have been a professional educational researcher since I became a credentialed Canadian historian in 1966.
I have been a professional writer of film and television documentaries since going to work for CBC North as a television documentary producer and broadcast journalist in 1979. And a documentary and educational film and video producer for major Canadian corporations, Federal Government departments, and public service organizations.
I have won over 130 international film and television awards – for entirely Canada-specific programs which I have researched and written, or co-written, with my wife, Joan Goldi.
(We do not participate in restricted, small pond – Canadians only allowed – film and television competitions – like the “non-Canadians keep out” Geminis – preferring to test our work against the best in the world, at the leading US television broadcast festivals, which solicit participants from all over the globe.)
At Houston Worldfest – the largest film and television festival competition in the world, we won the Gold for “News & Television Writing” for Part IV, of a four-hour documentary, “The Great Anglo-Boer War: the Canadian Experience” which I researched, filmed, directed, and edited. The series won an astonishing 4 Gold Medals at Houston, the world’s largest film and television festival, an unprecedented achievement called “Outrageous” by the festival President, J. Hunter Todd.
My Canada-specific documentary “Ipperwash: a Canadian Tragedy,” a project I initiated with the CBC, won the PLATINUM super-prize for “Investigative Journalism” at Houston Worldfest. I know of no other Canadian who has ever won it.
In fact my stubborn insistence, and the evidence I produced – going totally against the entire Canadian mainstream media establishment who, uniformly, preferred to believe its own false, racist truth, that Indians shot at the cops – convinced the Special Investigations Unit to re-open their investigation into the killing of Dudley George in 1995, when it was just about to close it down with no charges laid on Dec. 8, 1995.
Leading to the conviction of a cop who deliberately targeted an Indian for killing. The slanging of Ipperwash “Indians” from Ontario Premier Mike Harris on down, and the attendant media cover-up, of the racist police attack, was the worst racist excess and example of journalistic malfeasance by the mainstream media against Indigenous people in Ontario history.
In NONE of these international award-winning programs, or any other we have ever done, has a single word – NOT ONE – on any Goldi-authored script ever been deleted, or changed, by the order of any broadcast client, or by any of their eagle-eyed Errors or Omissions lawyers, doing a pre-broadcast review, of the words, or statements destined to go to air.
A mandatory review done by every broadcaster to prevent being sued for Libel or for publishing falsehoods…
NOT ONCE, in 40 years.
Every single word I write is carefully considered before I use it.
And then reconsidered again…
It is finally matched and tested against the dictionary definition.
And then finally matched and tested, again, against the documentary record (whether court transcript, judicial judgment, forensic report, media article, book, expert report, letter, or email.
All BEFORE I publish.
And then tested again, against the “Fair Comment Protocols” that govern Canadian journalists and bloggers.
And then tested again, against the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2009 “Defence of Responsible Communication,” that protects, but also binds, all journalists or bloggers who write for the public in Canada.
That landmark ruling changed the face of Canadian journalism and established that journalists and bloggers as being equal before the law. In fact the Supreme Court deleted the word “journalist” and replaced it with a duty of “Responsible Communication” that ALL writers must adhere to.
And then, finally, BEFORE, I publish, I ask myself again, “Do I really want to say that with those words?”
And if the answer is YES, then I publish.
And that is what you read.
I do not ask you to like it. I don’t care if you like it.
Because it is the Truth, on an issue of Public Interest and National Importance.
And Truth is the Ultimate Defence against Libel.
And against people who prefer their own “truth,” or “an alternative set of facts” – see the top of the page, and Professor Carmen Robertson and her “expert report.”
Racist Exclusion: It is also why I do not – and never have, since starting a website in 1996 – ever allowed “Reader Comments” to any of my Blogs or websites, because I am utterly appalled by the totally unsubstantiated and vile racist attacks published on other Blogs, YouTube channels, and other mainstream media internet portals.
A case in point is cyber terrorist Ritchie Sinclair who has, for years, launched vile, racist internet attacks on First Nations art and artists, among others, on these communications venues. And sent “Anonymous” Death Threats to blogger Ugo Matulic, that were “IP address site traced” to Sinclair’s personal “Stardreamer” computer. And were reported to police.
I have never understood how reputable Mainstream Media outlets allow this vile practice to fester and contaminate public discourse, and which just feeds the racist frenzy of vile sociopaths among other readers. (We know broadcasters want to engage and attract any and all readers for their advertisers; hey, even racists buy burgers, cars, feminine hygiene products, and Viagra.)
I note that the Toronto Star, and the CBC, finally cut off the “Reader Comments” to any articles dealing with First Nations stories because of the virulent racism that any mention of “Indians” attracted from a huge swath of the lowest orders in Canadian society.
And adopting a publishing practice for themselves which I have followed for 21 years, on ALL my websites and blogs.
For those who think my words are sometimes harsh, I say, better research the documentary record I have seen, before you criticize a historical and documentary record you are not as well informed on as I am.
“Silks, Satins, Suits, and Snoots – Good people, of superior breeding, in fine clothes, in prominent positions, with fancy titles, and good educations, sometimes say and do very bad things – execrable things. Like former Premier Mike Harris, who, in September 1995, ordered the OPP to “get those fucking Indians out of the Park.” (reported to me by Kettle Point Chief Tom Bressette in October, 1995, many years before this was reported in the media.)
That is hugely, the case with the Morrisseau HOAX alleging “fakes” promoted by a small cabal of art fraudsters, aided and abetted by a coterie of malfeasant “academics,” the notorious “silks, satins, suits and snoots” like the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society (NMHS) aka the Norval Morrisseau Harassment Society.
The NMHS has discredited, destroyed, and devalued hugely – in the tens of millions – the entire corpus of genuine art painted by Norval Morrisseau, Canada’s top Indigenous artist, for generations to come.
Norval, was, not only, Canada’s only People’s Artist but also, Canada’s only world class artist, ranking alongside Picasso, in world art history, as having contributed a totally unique and entirely new language/form of artistic expression to the art of Mankind.
If Establishment elites are guilty of malfeasance or outrageous misdeeds, and deal with a matter of public interest and national importance, I call them out on it. Without hesitation or reservation.
Especially when they are guilty of racism, or journalistic and academic malfeasance.
And guilty of Cultural Genocide. Or worse…
(A case in point: my ruthlessly exposing the racist OPP shooting attack ordered by Premier Mike Harris, against First Nations families at Ipperwash in 1995, the mainstream media cover-up, and the murder of Dudley George.)
No words are harsh enough to scorch malfeasants who are part of the Establishment, and who, to satisfy personal demons, victimize non-white racial groups in Canada or the disenfranchised minorities, like Canada’s Indigenous populations.
This blog searches out and scorches those people in prominent positions whose racist participation in promoting an art fraud have undermined the public trust in the integrity of the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people.
And have been documented and exposed as attacking – without substantiation – the genuine art of Norval Morrisseau.
And in so doing have brought into disrepute all the art and artists of Canada’s Indigenous people.
I make no excuse for the intensity of my passion as a longtime promoter and publisher of websites and film and television documentaries that celebrate Canada’s Indigenous art, artists, and peoples, their history and their culture.
It is the least I can do as a lifelong Canadian heritage and human rights activist.
“Be always sure you’re right – then go ahead.” – Davy Crockett (1834)