Island First Nation considers RCMP, human rights investigations after COVID-based discrimination
VICTORIA -- Leadership with Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island say they are not ruling out the possibility of taking serious complaints of racist and discriminatory behaviour to police.
"We will not hesitate to bring it to those relevant authorities to address," said Cowichan Tribes general manager Derek Thompson.
"Either locally with RCMP, or any other level of provincial or federal bureaucracy, we will not hesitate," he said.
The serious consideration comes after the Duncan-area community decided to take the transparent step of releasing ultra-regional COVID-19 data.
Currently, the Nation has 73 cases of COVID-19 and nine recoveries.
While many lauded the Nation for its openness, others reacted with hate-based speech online and other forms of discrimination.
In one case, Nation leadership say a member had a medical appointment cancelled when the office discovered they lived on the reserve.
"Why is that happening? A subconscious racism because everybody is afraid," Nation member Jared Qwustenuxun Williams told CTV Vancouver Island.
Many in the Cowichan Valley community have fiercely condemned the acts of discrimination.
The mayor of North Cowichan, Al Seibring, took to social media to slam the online bigotry.
Facing rising COVID-19 numbers, there is a silver lining for the island First Nation.
According to the Nation’s general manager, 600 COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived on Tuesday.
A large-scale vaccination campaign within the tribe is slated to begin Wednesday, with elders and those with elevated heath risks slated to roll up their sleeves first