The Chief and Council of the Snunemyeuxw First Nation are demanding the City of Nanaimo return the Snuneymuxw flag now flying at City Hall
A statement released Thursday says “The Snuneymuxw First Nation government is deeply concerned about the violence experienced by Ms. Tracy Samra in her role as City Manager of Nanaimo and the denial of that violence by Mayor Bill McKay.”
In July, a seven-second video, from an in camera meeting in February, was leaked to the media.
It shows former Nanaimo City Coun. Wendy Pratt appearing to knock a cell phone from Samra’s hands.
McKay had left the meeting before it happened but in a Nanaimo News Bulletin article he is quoted as saying “Somebody batted a phone out of her hand, I don’t know if I would consider that to be assault…I’ve not seen anything that’s suggested that Ms. Samra has experienced violence in the workplace.”
“The Snuneymuxw First Nation is committed to working collectively with the citizens of Nanaimo and their government to build new patterns premised on recognition, respect, reciprocity, justice, and reconciliation,” said Chief John Wesley
“However, we cannot sit idly by in the face of violence against an Indigenous woman – we are compelled to rise to speak out against this.”
Samra is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation.
She is the first woman and the first Indigenous person to hold the position of City Manager in Nanaimo.
The resolution was brought forward in late August by Snuneymuxw councillor Doug White.
White, who is related through marriage to Samra, said he’s been concerned about how she’s been treated since she was hired as city manager.
Mayor Bill McKay has yet to respond to a request for comment from CHEK News.
Over the Summer, in an interview about his political future, he touched on the state of affairs at City Hall.
“It’s unfortunate that we just find ourselves embroiled in all of this other nonsense this dysfunction and turmoil,” said McKay.
“It’s not necessary and it prevents us from doing the good work we should be doing for the citizens.”
The Snuneymuxw flag was given to Nanaimo on National Aboriginal Day in 2015 to fly alongside the flags of Canada, British Columbia, and the City.
The statement released today says representatives of the Snuneymuxw Government will be at City Hall on Friday at noon to retrieve the flag.