Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

A screenshot from the video shared on social media, showing a white pickup truck driving through the Tseshaht First Nation reserve. (SCREENSHOT)

The City of Port Alberni and Tseshaht First Nation are condemning an act of racism that took place in the Alberni Valley on Tuesday morning.

Video has been circulating on social media showing a white pickup truck driving through Tseshaht First Nation territory in the early morning of Tuesday, June 2. The occupants of the truck are heard shouting stereotypical whooping sounds out the window.

Several witnesses have said on social media that the occupants were also shouting racial slurs from the windows.

“This morning, we learned of what appears to be a shocking, racially-fueled incident that targeted local First Nations on the Tseshaht Reserve,” said Tseshaht elected Chief Councillor Cynthia Dick in a press release.

The incident has been reported to the Port Alberni RCMP, she added.

“As leaders in the Alberni Valley, we will do everything in our power to assist RCMP in finding these individuals so they may be held accountable for their actions,” said Dick.

“At this time, we want to thank those that have extended their support to our community. While this incident is upsetting, we are determined to emerge stronger and to use this as an opportunity to foster unity and teach our children what it takes to build a happy, healthy community that respects diversity and celebrates individuality.”

Members of Tseshaht First Nation and the City of Port Alberni joined together on Tuesday afternoon to say a prayer and sing a traditional song, offering forgiveness for the occupants of the truck.

Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions also posted on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon, stating that the city will do all it can to make sure the people involved in the incident are held accountable.

“To actually see what appears to be at the very least ignorance if not hate being expressed toward members of our community is absolutely heartbreaking and my deepest sympathies go out to each and every person in our community who has ever been the recipient of this type of behaviour and who is affected by this incident,” she said.

The incident took place the night after several Port Alberni residents gathered at Millstone Park for a peaceful protest against racism, inspired by the many protests that have been taking place across Canada and the United States over the past few weeks.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns also offered his support for the Tseshaht First Nation and other Nuu-chah-nulth nations on Tuesday.

“The terrible acts of racism that played out in our community last night are an upsetting wakeup call that while it’s easy to look at what is happening in the U.S. as being far away, racism and hate still exists in our own backyard,” he said. “As shocking as this news is to some, anti-Indigenous racism and other forms of prejudice and hate are a frightening reality faced by many in our community every day.”

READ MORE: Port Alberni residents gather to protest racism

The incident on Monday night was not an isolated one, said Minions.

“It would certainly be easier to write this off as a one time thing, simply a bad judgment call on someone’s part,” she said. “But that would be unfair to every person in this area who has ever had to be the victim of racism.

“We have work to do as a community to right these wrongs, grow, and simply be better. I know the disappointing actions of a few last night are not representative of the amazing people who live and work in this wonderful community. But we all have a role to play in moving forward.”

The Alberni Valley News has reached out to the Port Alberni RCMP for comment. If you have information on this incident, or other similar incidents that have occurred in the Alberni Valley, please contact the Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

First NationsPORT ALBERNIracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Cumberland keeps pushing for groundwater protection

Council will raise issue with Province again through Union of BC Municipalities

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Cumberland wants more done to stop drug deaths

Motions include writing Dr. Bonnie Henry, holding naloxone workshop

Courtenay theatre gets support for livestream ‘hybrid’ shows this year

Island Coastal Economic Trust funds help Sid Williams Theatre with infrastructure, training

Military police training in Comox Valley

Latest quarterly session for training is July 6-8

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

PHOTOS: GP Vanier Grad

Some submitted photos from the 2020 grad celebrations at GP Vanier in Courtenay

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read