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The "Proud Boys" Who Disrupted An Indigenous Ceremony Could Get Kicked Out Of The Military

The defence minister said such actions "will not be tolerated."

The five members of the Canadian Armed Forces who disrupted an Indigenous ceremony in Halifax on Canada Day have all been suspended from their duties as the military investigates their actions.

CBC Nova Scotia / Via youtube.com

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of Defence Staff, said the men "could face severe consequences, including release from the forces."

Four of the men are in the Canadian Navy, and the other is in the Canadian Army.

"Their future in the miltary is certainly in doubt," Vance said in a statement.

The men identified themselves as part of the Proud Boys, a far-right men's group whose members describe themselves as "Western chauvinists." The group's Facebook page regularly includes anti-Muslim, anti-feminist, anti-trans, and anti-Indigenous links and commentary.

On July 1, a group of Indigenous people gathered at the statue of Edward Cornwallis, the founder of Halifax, to call attention to his racist actions against the Mi'kmaq.

Chief Grizzly Mamma, who is originally from British Columbia, cut off her braids and placed them in front of the statue.

Cornwallis was the governor of Nova Scotia who, in 1749, founded the city of Halifax. However, that same year he issued what has come to be known as the Scalping Proclamation, which offered colonists a bounty for the scalps of any Mi'kmaw people killed in an effort to clear them off the land.

According to CBC Nova Scotia, Chief Grizzly Mamma's protest was a symbolic acknowledgment of that ethnic cleansing.

"You took their scalps, you can have mine too," she said.

The group of Proud Boys who crashed the Cornwallis protest carried a Red Ensign flag, and got into an argument with others about ownership of the land.

youtube.com

“This was Mi’Kmaq territory. This is now Canada. This is Halifax, Nova Scotia,” one of them said. “This is a British colony.”

Halifax is built on the unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq, who have lived in the area for about 13,000 years.

The men left without incident after arguing with others for about 10 minutes.

According to Vice News, a sixth member of the Canadian Armed Forces not present at the protest is also being investigated.

Facebook / Via anti-racistcanada.blogspot.ca

Paul Wynnyk, the commander of the Canadian Army, issued a statement condemning the "actions of a few [who] do not reflect the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Army commitment to being inclusive and diverse organizations."

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also condemned the actions of the men and apologized to the Mi'kmaq community in Halifax.

"I know our government has much more work to do with respect to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples," Sajjan wrote on Facebook. "But I want to give you my personal assurance that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated within the ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence."

The Proud Boys is a relatively new group started by Gavin McInnes, the Canadian cofounder of Vice who is currently a contributor to Rebel Media and other right-wing outlets. The name of the group comes from a song in Aladdin.

Proud Boys are discouraged from masturbating and have a bizarre initiation ritual that involves naming breakfast cereals.

Members of the group and its affiliated, militant wing — the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights — have been involved in altercations at various rallies in support of and against the Trump administration.

UPDATE

This article has been updated with additional statements from military leaders.

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