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)

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

Just Posted

Mount Elizabeth Theatre have been approved for a provision of funding by city council for up to $42,000. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat’s multi-use theatre grant request approved for live streaming equipment

A funding commitment of up to $42,000 was granted from council to the Mount Elizabeth Theatre

Tracy Owen-Best with her husband, Larry Best. Tracy runs both the Nechako Barbershop and Hair Essentials Salon in Kitimat. Diagnosed with cancer in March 2020, she’s kept a positive mindset with the help from a supportive family. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Tracy Owen-Best

Barbershop owner and cancer fighter keeps it positive

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The fence option chosen for the 461 Quatsino Boulevard development is the red lines that border the site plan. The fence will be roughly six feet high with the exception of the fence bordering Cranberry Street which will be eight feet high. (Boni Maddison Architects photo)
Fence to be erected between housing project and Kitimat homeowners

Residents of the Cranberry Street area are finally getting the fence they want

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read