Vancouver Island First Nation shocked by racist incident
VICTORIA -- The Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni was shocked by a racially charged incident that occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
A video that has spread on social media shows a white truck slowly driving through the Tseshaht First Nation Reserve with passengers of the truck yelling racial taunts.
RCMP are now investigating the incident.
The event prompted the Tseshaht First Nation and the City of Port Alberni to issue a joint statement condemning the act of apparent racism.
“This morning, we learned of what appears to be a shocking racially fueled incident that targeted local First Nations on the Tseshaht Reserve,” said Cynthia Dick, elected chief councillor for the Tseshaht First Nation, in the joint statement Tuesday.
“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.”
Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions added that the city was in full support of the Tseshaht First Nation and urged community members to stand against racism.
“The behaviour displayed during this incident is in no way reflective of our community values,” said Minions.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with Tseshaht and all First Nations people and will not tolerate racism in our community.”
In a separate post, Minions noted that Tuesday’s incident was not the first time that racism was reported in the community.
“And while we are talking about a specific incident, I think we need to recognize that it is not an isolated situation,” she said.
“It would certainly be easier to write this off as a one time thing, simply a bad judgement call on someone's part. But that would be unfair to every person in this area who has ever had to be the victim of racism,” she said.
While RCMP investigate the incident, Minions says that she hopes that the disheartening event will lead to progress in the community.