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

In Photos: The CP Rail Holiday Train rolls into Sicamous

Sam Roberts and his band headlined the rolling show which raises money for local food banks.

CSRD Wants help figuring out antique survey equipment

The piece of equipment was used by Peter Jennings to map out the North Fork Wild near Craigellachie

Busy day for Penticton Search and Rescue

PENSAR was called to three separate incidents Sunday, Dec. 16

Warm weather ahead for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada says no snow at lower altitudes until Wednesday night

Shuswap SPCA seeking property for new facility

Organization would like location closer to town centre

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Book Talk: Series stand outs

Novels in a great series can stand on their own

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Kelowna Gospel Mission celebrates Grandpa Lloyd’s success

In a video it shares how an outreach worker helped get Lloyd off the streets

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

Most Read