FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 14, 2007
Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – The First Nations Leadership Council joined with the families of Robert Pickton’s victims in denouncing a tasteless and inconsiderate comedy routine by Vancouver comedian Richard Lett. In a six minute video posted on YouTube, Lett performs a song about the Pickton case. During the song, Lett sings about the victims to the tune of the old and racially insensitive nursery rhyme "Ten Little Indians".
“Already faced with the devastating death of their loved ones and an emotionally draining trial, these families should not have to suffer such an appalling attempt at humour,” said BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief A-in-chut (Shawn Atleo), “Mr. Lett may try to defend his display of poor taste as social commentary, but the despicable crimes of Robert Pickton and his victims are not something to be made fun of, nor is a comedy club the kind of forum to make commentary,” he added.
"I am absolutely astounded that anyone would sink low enough to actually attempt to joke about William Pickton's depraved and horrible acts of murderous violence against women. Such callous disregard is exactly why so many women are missing in the Downtown Eastside and along the Highway of Tears. Simply put, if he has any shred of decency, Richard Lett must apologize," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
"It is shocking to think anyone would trivialize and make light the heinous crimes of William Pickton a part of a comedic routine", said Chief Judith Sayers of the First Nations Summit political executive. "Mr. Lett has shown he has little regard for common civility and compassion. He should issue an immediate public apology to the victims' families and discourage other "entertainers" from using similar material. The families of the victims must be allowed to grieve in peace without having to deal with offensive material such as this."
The First Nations Leadership Council calls on Mr. Lett to immediately issue an apology to the families of Pickton’s victims and remove the offensive song from his act.
The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. The Council works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.
For more information:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC, (250) 490-5314
Colin Braker, First Nations Summit, (604) 926-9903
Ryneld Starr, BC Assembly of First Nations, (604) 837-6908
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.