Royal Canadian Legion Branch 99 in Belleville, Ontario.
Credits: LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER/QMI AGENCY
The 'joke' begins with two hunters in northern Saskatchewan when "an Indian runs across the field," the Aboriginal People's Television Network (APTN) reports.
The Saskatchewan hunter aims and shoots the "Indian" dead. The Alberta hunter expresses shock, but the Saskatchewan hunter tells him it's legal in the province.
Later, the Alberta hunter buys beer and puts it on the roof of his truck when "an Indian runs by, grabs the beer and runs away." The Alberta hunter then pulls out a pistol and shoots the person dead.
He's later arrested by an RCMP officer who tells him that it's illegal to use "bait" when shooting "Indians" in Saskatchewan.
The Legion denounced the 'joke' on its site and says the man responsible has been stripped of his duties.
"In August of this year, one of our members, under the auspices of The Legion, published a local newsletter which contained horrendous and racist material. It was directed specifically at Aboriginal Peoples," the organization said in a statement. "The Legion, all of our Branches, our Provincial officers, and Legionnaires across Canada denounce this material. We steadfastly hold that this does not represent our collective views, and certainly does not reflect the respect we feel toward our First Nations Veterans and their families."
It added that it "cannot reverse the pain, but we are determined to rebuild our relationships. We continue to seek out ways to work with interested parties to actively engage in healing and to express our sincere regrets."
On Friday, Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs sent a letter to Bob Brady, president of the Royal Canadian Legion B.C. and Yukon Command, expressing his dismay that the Cranbrook Legion branch printed 40 copies of the newsletter and only pulled the issue after someone complained.
"I am astonished at the Royal Canadian Legion officials at the Legion and BC/Yukon Command levels were completely dismissive and cavalier in their response to initial complaints about the offensive racist joke in their publication," Phillip is quoted as saying on APTN's site. "(Royal Canadian) Legion officials maintained that the so-called joke was simply a joke and not at all a newsworthy item."
Inga Kruse, executive director of the Legion's B.C. and Yukon Command, told APTN that the Cranbrook branch had been ordered not to publish jokes and cartoons in its newsletter which will now only carry Legion content.
Kruse said the branch has also been told to implement a "peer review process" for all content published in the newsletter.