For immediate release
March 7, 2022
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is issuing this statement to acknowledge a recent incident of racism that took place at The Brick store in Thompson, Manitoba.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee shares:
“Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak will always do what we can to advocate for our Elders, our Knowledge Keepers, and our citizens.
When MKO citizens experience racial profiling or racism, MKO will be there to stand with those experiencing this kind of treatment. I want to commend those who continue to come forward to condemn racism, including Elder Edwin Beardy. It is important to speak up on these issues although these conversations can be uncomfortable.
Last week, one of our Elders was accused of being intoxicated and received a breathalyzer in a parking lot at The Brick in Thompson. This sent shockwaves throughout MKO Territory. We condemn the disrespect of this Elder and the loss of his dignity.
My office asked The Brick for a formal apology to be given in person to Elder Edwin Beardy along with a formal letter of apology for the Elder. We have also requested the staff at The Brick take cultural proficiency training and that staff should not be calling the RCMP on people when they have no cause/evidence.
The Brick needs to respect that they are on First Nation territory, and as such, are required to respect the first citizens of this land. It is also essential businesses are aware of the significant role First Nations have in providing a strong economic base in the City of Thompson.
MKO will continue to advocate for First Nations citizens experiencing racism. We encourage business leaders be conscious of our collective identity as MKO First Nations people and to ensure that serious incidents like this do not occur in the future.
I extend my appreciation to Keith Sanburn, Owner/Manager of The Brick, for meeting with me to discuss these concerns on March 1, 2022.
While I am deeply disturbed that this still occurs, I am also aware that to seek change, we must start with identifying the issues and taking action together. Collaboration is key. Only when people come together with a shared spirit of openness, reflection, honesty, and accountability, can we all begin to make progress toward reconciliation.
I encourage local business leaders to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to develop your own reconciliation action plans. This will assist in the collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and in time it will build trust, strong ties, and shared benefits that mark a new way forward toward reconciliation.”
For more information:
Email: [email protected]