Racist graffiti removed from marsh benches

Graffiti found at Thunder Bay's Mission Marsh used a racial slur to refer to First Nations people.
The graffiti at Mission March, which is only partially captured in this photo, had been on the bench for nearly a week. Authorities said it was cleaned off yesterday. (Jody Porter/CBC)

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority said it has removed racist graffiti from a bench at Mission Marsh. The graffiti was there for several days and used a racial slur to refer to First Nations people, saying they should "go home."

Tony McGuire, an Anishinaabe filmaker in Thunder Bay, said he found the graffiti ironic.

"I'm sure a lot of my colleagues would not feel the same way, but my first reaction is kind of laughing," he said. "I'm not concerned about someone who is so ignorant that they say go home. We're all home, regardless of whether your ancestors are from Europe. As long as you were born here, you are home."

McGuire said schools have to do a better job of teaching First Nations history to curb racist attitudes.

Report graffiti right away

The bench had also been painted with the words "white is right, brown sucks."

The graffiti had been on the bench for nearly a week, but authority chair Bill Bartley said it was cleaned up yesterday, as soon as it was reported.

He says the graffiti at the marsh is no different from graffiti he has seen in other parts of Thunder Bay.

"I have seen graffiti that is racist and it's one of those things," he said. "I guess what you saw out at Mission Marsh was just a target of opportunity."

Bartley said he encourages anyone who spots graffiti at a conservation area to report it right away.