18-year-old singng star Justin Bieber was born in Canada. He recently told Rolling Stone magazine, “I’m actually part Indian, I think Inuit or something? I’m enough percent that in Canada I can get free gas."
A national aboriginal group quickly issued a statement to set the record straight.
“Mr. Bieber is a worldwide celebrity,” said Betty Ann Lavallée, National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, in an August 2 statement. “Because of this fact, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples feels that it is important to clear up misconceptions caused by statements made by influential individuals, concerning Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. Mr. Bieber’s comment that aboriginal people are entitled to free gas is simply not true. These kinds of remarks are another example of what aboriginal peoples in Canada struggle with every day. It promotes the misconception that we are somehow getting a free ride. This simply is not the case, and we are concerned that many people may believe what he said.”
Lavallé and Vice Chief Dwight Dorey, whose Ottawa-based group represents Métis and non-status Indians throughout Canada, also offered the 18-year-old pop star assistance in tracing his roots.
Lavallée said discovering these roots would stand Bieber in good stead in many areas of life, stating, “It’s important for someone to know where they come from, which helps give them a better understanding of where they are going.”
The “free gas” misconception is a common one, and stems from a policy described on Ontario’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs website:
In Ontario, there is a tax of 14.7 cents per litre on gasoline. First Nations people with a gas card do not have to pay this tax if they buy gasoline for personal use from an authorized service station on a reserve.
You can read more in the Indian Country Today Media Network at http://goo.gl/DoiBS.
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