On May 30th, 2018, Rosemarie Falk’s infamous high-five drew mass outrage from her political opponents, who were quick to associate the gesture with the Conservative vote on Bill C-262.

In accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the motion was brought forth by NDP MP Romeo Saganash in recognition of ‘various Indigenous rights,’ so naturally, the claim of intolerance and disrespect came about.

Chief Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, publicly denounced the Conservative MP of Battlefords-Lloydminster for her interaction with fellow CPC MP Dane Lloyd.

While many were quick to call her out for her gesture, few were quick to acknowledge her presence at the exoneration of Chief Poundmaker: a well-respected Cree leader that was heralded by many for his diplomatic prowess with the federal government in the 1870s, effectively saving the Cree, in part, from the further onslaught.

Despite the Bill’s legal certainty in doubt over commitments to Indigenous consultations, the former Justice Minister Judy Wilson-Raybould found “unworkable and, respectfully, a political distraction.”

A distraction indeed — that’s exactly what the media fallout was with MP Falk’s high-five. A distraction, fuelled by the faux moral outrage of partisan politics.

The Post Millennial reached out to MP Falk for an exclusive interview, hoping to receive clarity on the incident and her experience at Poundmaker’s exoneration.

“I think that political parties saw this as an opportunity for a political win. For whatever, it was unfortunate, because I’ve engaged with different First Nations on Reconciliation efforts. I believe that the first step towards healing and reconciliation is conversation. It just has to happen,” claimed Falk

“If we don’t have a conversation, and we jump straight to judgment and condemnation, it isn’t Reconciliation. I can tell you that the First Nation advocates who reached out to me, were very shocked to hear my side of the story. I don’t think that it justified the death threats on the lives of me and my children’s lives.”

On her experience at Poundmaker’s exoneration, she expressed her appreciation for what she has called a “historic moment.”

“I had the opportunity to take my daughter, so I pulled out of school for Poundmaker’s exoneration. We had gone up to the reserve, and it was great to see Canadians come together in the spirit of Reconciliation. Reconciliation starts with a conversation. Right? It is difficult to talk about any injustices, but engaging in those difficult conversations is the first step to moving forward on this issue.”

Today marks the 23rd anniversary of Canada’s National Indigenous Peoples Day, where we hope the discussions had on the injustices faced by Canada’s First Peoples is had in a sensible, productive manner.