Sign covered in racist scrawls at mushroom-picking area near Kamloops has been removed. (Photo contributed)

Update: BC government condemns racist comments on sign

Province calls hate-filled scrawls near Kamloops ‘ignorant, cowardly and reprehensible’

  • Jul. 9, 2018 4:30 p.m.

– Kamloops This Week

Racist statements written on a Secwepemc territory sign in Kamloops have drawn the condemnation of the provincial government and the Shuswap First Nations Tribal Council.

“This ignorant, cowardly and reprehensible act is contrary to the values of our government and the people of British Columbia and Canada,” said Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Scott Fraser, in a statement.

He goes on to say that the government “denounces and condemns” the racist vandalism and that “racism and bigotry will not be tolerated.”

“Hatred will only win if we remain silent,” the statement reads.

The sign he refers to was covered in large red spray-painted letters with derogatory words about First Nations as well as white supremacist comments.

It was spotted by Batchelor Heights resident Bonnie Jesten.

The sign is an advisory to mushroom harvesters on their way to the Elephant Hill wildfire area and was erected near the Lac Du Bois protected area by multiple First Nations, including the Skeetchestn, Whispering Pines and Bonaparte bands, which are responsible for issuing mushroom-picking permits.

The bands had the sign removed last week.

Related: Vandalized sign on First Nations land is ‘out-and-out racism’

Ron Ignace, Chief of the Skeetchstn Band, described the racist language that defaced the sign as “sick” and against the human rights of Indigenous people.

He said the plan is to replace the sign with a new one, and he hopes anyone who knows who may have defaced the previous sign report it to police.

Related: Funds aimed at ending racism

The RCMP, however, do not currently have a file on this incident.

Kamloops Rural RCMP Staff Sgt. Bob Fogarty said he became aware of the incident when it was reported by the local media, but police won’t be investigating unless a complaint is issued.

He described the writing as likely warranting a mischief charge but wasn’t sure offhand whether or not it would constitute a hate crime.

According to section 319 (2) of the Canadian criminal code, a person who communicates statements – other than in private conversation – wilfully promoting hatred against any identifiable group in Canada is liable to a prison sentence of less than two years.

Wayne Christian, the chair of the Shuswap First Nations Tribal Council, issued a statement saying that in moving forward a commitment is needed “from the highest level of government to local community organizations to speak about and act upon what respect and inclusion look like.”

“We have just been served a hatred-filled reality check from a portion of Canadian society,” Christian said. “It’s time to test those sentiments of human rights, inclusion and diversity.”

As part of wildfire recovery efforts following the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire, the province partnered with the Secwépemc Nation to help protect and restore burnt areas.

“We support the First Nation’s stewardship role as ancestral caretakers of the land, and the Secwépemc approach to encourage responsible, safe and low-impact mushroom harvesting,” Fraser said.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Okanagan Shuswap weather: Glimpses of sun expected on another wintry day

The sun will be peeking out from behind the clouds for the next few days

Niedermayer jersey retirement ceremony a dream come true

Penticton minor hockey players bring home memories of a lifetime from Niedermayer jersey retirement

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

UPDATE: Tractor trailer overturned on Highway 3A near Yellow Lake

Drivers may be wise to plan an alternate route as crews will need to recover the truck

2019 Young Stars Tournament in Okanagan cancelled

Lack of NHL teams participating led to the cancellation, may return in future years

5 Events to check out this weekend local ski hills

Check out this new column from Okanagan events guru Christina Ferreira

‘A little baloney’ in PM’s claim about solicitor-client privilege on SNC-Lavalin

The Conservatives and NDP want Trudeau to waive that privilege so Wilson-Raybould can offer her side of the story

Proposed edible pot rules are wasteful, would leave products tasteless: critics

When Canada legalized weed last fall, it only allowed fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds

Samsung folding phone is different – but also almost $2,000

But most analysts see a limited market for foldable-screen phones

Alcohol policies fizzle for Canadian governments as harms overflow: reports

About 80 per cent of Canadians drink, and most enjoy a drink or two

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Larch Hills junior skiers top Teck BC Midget Championships

Multiple top-five finishes contribute to aggregate team trophy

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Most Read