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

Victoria-bound plane slides off icy Edmonton runway

Crew, passengers had to disembark via bridge stairs

VIDEO: Hundreds gather in Victoria as part of global Women’s March for equality

‘End Violence Against Women’ march theme for 2019

Almost four of 10 Canadians have unlimited internet data at home

Fifty-four per cent say they telecommute at least sometimes

New Carnarvon Park field-house could cost $4.3M

Both tennis and pickleball courts are included in new draft plan

WATCH: Medieval fighters train in Colwood

Fighters are gearing up for world championships in medieval combat

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read