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

WATCH: Westshore Wolves’ equipment managers go the extra mile

On an average game day, Rick Burke’s team spends nine to 10 hours working behind the scenes.

Snow keeps West Shore emergency crews busy

Environment Canada says more snow expected to hit Friday afternoon

Duncan family says care home switched mom’s cat with robot cat

Staff alleged to have said they were taking cat for bath, then replaced her with robotic stuffed toy

School’s on today, more snow expected across Greater Victoria

Environment Canada says more snow could fall Friday

Trial date delayed in case of slain Oak Bay sisters

Case of Andrew Berry, charged in deaths of daughters, will reconvene in three weeks

Photo gallery: Show us your Winter Wonderland!

User submitted photos from around Greater Victoria

All aboard! Job fair ports this weekend in Victoria

Find out about the hundreds of jobs in Victoria’s cruise ship industry

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Sooke mom hopeful for funding to treat child’s debilitating arthritis

Jillian Lanthier ‘prays’ for $19,000 per-dose drug for her son

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Human remains found near Campbell River

Human remains were found in a rural area outside Campbell River, RCMP… Continue reading

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Tofino Bus will cover Victoria–Nanaimo route after Greyhound announces cut

Although its name says ‘Tofino’, this bus company serves all of Vancouver Island

Most Read