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

Snowboarder buried in Elk Valley avalanche

Group self-rescues after triggering an avalanche south of Sparwood

Memorial Arena set to open this week

Cranbrook gets an early Christmas present as Memorial Arena opens after four-month repairs

SPCA puts out fundraising call for Bumble the kitty

Stray cat taken into care needs surgery to remove eyes because of glaucoma

How the Grinch did not steal Christmas

Cranbrook RCMP recover stolen packages thanks to the help of Denim with Police Dog Services

Cattle truck crash closes Hwy 3 near Jaffray

A detour route is available via Betania Rd

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

New B.C. Lions coach DeVone Claybrooks adds eight to coaching staff

DeVone Claybrooks has filled out his staff for the 2019 season

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

Most Read