North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice during her speech at the All Native Basketball Tournament opening ceremonies, Sunday, Feb. 11. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

MLA apologizes for joke at B.C. Indigenous basketball tournament

North Coast representative Jennifer Rice’s attempt at humour fell flat

MLA Jennifer Rice has apologized on social media after a joke she made at the All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert last weekend was answered with a chorus off boos.

The North Coast representative took a turn at the microphone after the opening ceremonies, featuring a performance by the Gingolx Cultural Dancers, who led matriarchs, chiefs and players onto the court in front of a packed audience.

Rice’s apparent attempt at sarcasm, in which she called the performance “not bad,” fell flat.

WATCH: Gingolx bring a full house to All Native opening ceremonies

More than 85 dancers were dressed in traditional regalia and had been practising since September. Fundraising efforts raised $26,000 for the group to attend.

The next on her Facebook page, Rice apologized: “Some people took my comment literally and I offended them. That was not my intention at all. I meant the complete opposite as I thought they were phenomenal.

“To those I offended, I sincerely apologize. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all the Nations who make the ANBT the incredible cultural and sporting event that it is.”

Her post, which has more than 70 comments and has been shared more than 100 times, received a mixed response.

One person called for a feast and apology with gifts to the matriarchs and elders of the Gingolx. Others said her joke was taken too seriously, while others said they felt disrespected. Many thanked the MLA for her apology.

One commenter wrote that Rice shouldn’t made a joke at all.

The “sombreness of the moment,” the person said, was changed by her making light of an emotional event, when given the opportunity to honour the performers.

READ MORE: Gingolx dancers lead All Native opening ceremonies

Just Posted

Group wants Nelson considered for basic income

The province is studying a possible pilot project

Critical Condition: ‘People are dying from treatable medical conditions’

Problems with ambulance service policies are systemic and province-wide, advocacy group leader says.

Nelson Greyhound cuts approved

Service will be reduced to two trips in each direction per week

Before the war, ‘a beautiful life’

Syrian refugee family moves to Nelson from Castlegar, Turkey and Damascus

COLUMN: Violence and bullying very much alive in school

Nelson mother says real change is needed

South Nelson sings ‘Wheat Kings’

Grade 4 and 5 students performed at Nelson city council

Nelson speedskaters finish Skate-A-Thon

Berend Platje and Mercedes Phillips are also off to the B.C. Winter Games this weekend

Leafs take Game 1 over Border Bruins

Ryan Cooper scored in OT for Nelson’s 3-2 win

Glacier sending 3 gymnasts to B.C. Winter Games

Eden Bellman, Dafni van Hellemond, Brianne Stefani are on their way to Kamloops

Arts therapy school applying to offer master’s degree

Kutenai Art Therapy Institute hopes to have a program in place next year

Meadow Creek student wins $100K scholarship

Jesalyn Tremblay is one of just 34 people nationwide awarded the money

COLUMN: Beware the middle class bunnies

Freedom to Read Week at the Library

COLUMN: Reflections of a cool theatre festival

Father and son on a Cariboo trek

LETTER: Refugee family story was eclipsed by a photo of a dog

Kootenay Co-op issues warm greeting to newcomers

Most Read