Tseshaht First Nation, located in the Alberni Valley, is calling for justice and better understanding after an unnerving racist incident early Tuesday morning.
Community leaders called a meeting in attempts to encourage calm and help unite the community, after four people in a truck drove onto the First Nation to hurl racist taunts. The incident was captured on video and woke some people from their sleep.
“The windows were closed, the doors were closed and I could hear it like they were right next to me,” said Ed “Nasimuis” Ross, who took a video of the truck.
“They were doing the stereotypical Indian call. They were also saying “F” the Indians. I hate Indians. We’re freeloaders.”
“It was very unfair in that a few individuals took it upon themselves and made people feel unsafe in their homes and took it upon themselves to trespass on the reserve,” said Cynthia Dick, elected chief of the Tseshaht First Nation.
The First Nation has given the video to the RCMP and it’s encouraging people who may have information to report it.
The community meeting was held Tuesday night, organized by Trevor Little. He said many in the community are struggling about how to respond.
“How can we model this for our community because I had two messages when I got home from work that said ‘I know where they live. Let’s go,'” said Little.
Last night, they talked about how racist taunts can’t take away their inner strength and how trying to avenge what happened with those who might be responsible would only make matters worse.
It ended with a song about moving forward in a positive way.
“People reclaimed their strength and showed that we are here to support one another and we are all in this together,” said Dick.
“This is a wake up to Port Alberni and our neighbouring communities that this isn’t tolerated anymore,” said Ross.
The band says it wants justice in the case but it’s also hoping those involved will realize the hurt they’ve caused, learn about Indigenous people and let go of the misconceptions they hold.
Port Alberni RCMP say they will provide an update on their investigation Thursday.
Find our first coverage of the story here.