A young native of La Tuque is made treat of Kawish during a match: “I felt so sad”
The Toque — “I felt so sad, I had rage inside me. It was also a great disappointment. I have had the taste to leave and no longer play hockey, I was unmotivated.” Yann-Maverick Quitich is a young hockey player 14 years of age. The Atikamekw evolves to the Wolves of La Tuque has been insulted, by youth, parents and hockey coach, because he is of aboriginal origin. It would have been a treaty of “criss of Kawish” on several occasions and would have asked her to return to her reserve, during a game of hockey Bantam B at Cap-de-la-Madeleine last weekend.
“He had tears in his eyes when he arrived and he had the moral ground,” says Maylène Weizineau, the mother of Yan-Maverick who always comes back no. She complains loud and clear the situation. She has agreed to testify to the situation to make things happen and make people think.
“It is in 2019, this coach-there has not evolved? It is supposed to show the example. I was angry myself too. This is unacceptable. Me, I tell my guys play for fun and not to win all the time. It was made 2 to 0, and it is at this point that they would have started the process of Kawish”, she notes.
A history of failure is at the origin of racist. The young hockey player would have even taken the time to alert the official of the meeting, without success, he explained in Short.
“I asked the referee if he had heard what I had said. The referee told me that he was going to fix it, but it did nothing. It was not busy. […] He did not come to see my coach. There’s one of our coaches who came to my defence,” says the young hockey player of 14 years.
“I was more than sad, I lost my temper”, he adds.
It is a player especially harassed from the start of the match. In the third period, the young Atikamekw has defended himself in the plating. A gesture that earned him an expulsion and a two-game suspension. It is here that the rain of insults would be taken of the scale.
“Your criss of Kawish don’t let my players”, would have launched, among other things, a coach of the opposing team.
The sister of the young hockey player was in the bleachers, she saw the scene without understanding what was being said on the ice, but she saw that her brother was very upset, enough to go to the join directly in the locker room.
“My brother is not violent, it is a nice boy. I went to join him. He was in crisis and he is questioned. He didn’t understand why he insulted her in relation to her identity. […] He was really upset and it took a lot of time before he finds his smile that day,” says Eden Weizineau.
“Kawish, it doesn’t mean anything, it is a word used to attack us on our identity and this is not a compliment […] It is unacceptable. For my brother, the hockey it was a motivation to go further in life. It is too bad that one breaks it, he wants to do sport-studies”, she adds.
Racial slurs are hard to hear, for the young man and difficult to digest. Upon returning home, he would have confided to his mother that he no longer wanted to play.
“It has been encouraged to continue and do not take into account what these people are saying. We do not want that he gives others the power to win with their insults,” insists Maylène Weizineau.
“Being insulted by an adult, it is a very big lack of respect. We’re waiting to see where will lead this business here because we find it unacceptable that an adult would say that to a child. It is a very big lack of respect”, she adds.
The mother of the child is not the only one to not understand how adults could come to call the young aboriginal “Kawish”.
Reaction to the Council of the atikamekw nation
“It is an event deplorable in a context where one wants to develop a better society. […] Children, in the heat of the action, can say anything. But that it comes from the bleachers, coaches, there is a check mark in it too…”, stated the grand chief of the Council of the atikamekw nation, Constant Awashish.
The latter has himself had to live this kind of racist comments when he was a young hockey player.
“I remember myself when we went to play outside. We did not call it, gang of wild, Kawish… Not just me, the whole team was a treat to Kawish. It was like that when I was young, but the game of hockey has evolved since the last few years. People are more aware of their role as spectators, as parents, as coaches, but there is still a world that escapes and shows his true colors”, lance-t-il.
The grand chief of the atikamekw nation will see that there is still much to be done to break down prejudices.
“I work to ensure my children, my grandchildren, and all children atikamekw who will be born can live in a society where they can feel good. In a society where they will not feel judged and that they will not have any reservation about their identity, their culture or their language,” insists Constant Awashish.
In the end, the young hockey player hopes that this kind of situation does not repeat more, for the good of all.
“I don’t want that to happen again. I’ve heard the story of a black (Jonathan-Ismaël Diaby) who is dealing with a baboon. It is not necessary that it happens to other future players that they are white, black, Atikamekws…”, has launched Yan-Maverick Quitich.
It refers to the history of the defender of the Marquis de Jonquière, Jonathan-Ismaël Diaby, who has been the target of racist comments during a match of the LNAH. Members of his family had also been insulted during the game at the Arena regional Rivière-du-Nord of Saint-Jérôme.
Concerning the young Atikamekw, according to The Press, the Wolves have filed a formal complaint to Hockey Mauricie and Quebec Hockey. The Press pointed out that in the document, the team affirms that the insult “kawish” was then repeated by parents and players of the local team towards the players of La Tuque, whether they are indigenous or not.
The Press also adds that after the altercation, the situation has escalated. Three coaches, including two La Tuque, have been expelled. The leaders of the Wolves had seen enough and heard. They have withdrawn their players from the ice rink and decided not to finish the meeting. Everyone has retired to the locker room.