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(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is deeply concerned by news reports of signage denying the “suitability” of Indian Status Cards, which are federally issued government ID, as identification posted at the Quarterdeck Beer and Wine Store in Port Hardy. Such policy is discriminatory, anti-reconciliation, and a clear violation of the human rights of Indigenous people.
This incident again highlights ongoing systemic racism against Indigenous people by Canadian businesses refusing to properly educate themselves about Indian Status Cards, which are federally issued and recognized ID documents. The fact that such a sign was printed and displayed in the same colours widely associated with the Orange Shirt Day campaign and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation demonstrates a disturbing lack of awareness toward modern Indigenous issues. It is entirely unacceptable that this insensitive and racist message was broadcast in the store across at least two separate managements, without any care given to Indigenous customers for whom it reinforces a message of discrimination and stigma associated with the use of their Status Card.
We recently published a study examining the experiences of Indigenous card-holders, which revealed that more than 99% of individuals surveyed have faced discrimination, some on a daily basis, when presenting them at businesses or to officials. This ongoing failure of media, schools, employers, and governments to educate people on the history of Status Cards and the significance of being Indigenous in Canada cannot be condoned or allowed to continue. We call on all individuals to reject such behaviour and speak out against discrimination whenever and wherever they encounter it.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 604-290-6083
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, c/o 778-866-0548
UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
For more information please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca
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