A woman in a Manitoba hair salon was fired after she posted racially-motivated comments on Facebook following an incident where her car was vandalized. In addition to losing her job, the woman and a friend have been arrested and charged after allegedly discussing holding a “shoot an Indian day” targeting indigenous communities. A third arrest is pending.
The woman posted the comments soon after finding her white car was spray-painted with graffiti, stating in part: “Yes the Indians are offended but it is ok for them to drive around rural area’s (sic) shooting at the livestock and farmers, since when did our country become a dictatorship that every thing (sic) you say offends something and we are not allow an opinion, well i agree we need a national shoot at an indian day, they shoot at us year round let them dodge a bullet for one day f**cking savages…”
Screenshots of the posts and subsequent comments from her friends were shared hundreds of times on Facebook, with many posting in opposition to the comments.
A statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reads as follows:
On July 29, 2018, Flin Flon RCMP received numerous reports of mischief to vehicles and property throughout Flin Flon, Manitoba. Several individuals took to a local Flin Flon Facebook page to vent about the mischief to property. That venting quickly escalated into hateful and threatening language against residents of First Nations communities.
The RCMP takes these matters very seriously and immediately launched an investigation.
Two of the three female suspects, a 32-year-old female from Flin Flon and a 25-year-old female from Denare Beach, SK, have been arrested by RCMP for Uttering Threats and Public Incitement of Hatred. A third arrest is pending for the same charges. All three suspects are cooperating with police.
According to Newsweek, The police have not yet confirmed the identities of the two women, or a third suspect for whom charges are pending, but CBC noted the details match Facebook posts made by Destine Spiller and Raycine Chaisson, with screenshots widely shared online. Another post with the “shoot an Indian day” has the alleged name Wendy Pekrul.
The article in Newsweek also stated Arlen Dumas, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said he was “very pleased” at how the situation had been handled, and people “need to be made aware of the gravity of the issues.”
Bobby Cameron, chief of Canada’s Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said he hoped to see more prosecutions for hate crimes in the future. “This life-threatening attitude must be stopped and those guilty of it must be charged for a hate crime and it must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said in a statement. “We will no longer tolerate these blatant acts and statements of racism in Canada.”
The hair salon, Urban Trendz which fired the woman after the comments, released an apology on Facebook. “Our business has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of discrimination or racism.”