Tag Archives: Racism

Southern Alberta doctor under fire for alleged Racist confrontation with Indigenous people

Witnesses say Dr. Lloyd Clarke told a group of Indigenous people outside the Reddi Mart in downtown Cardston to “get a job.” (Google Maps)

Doctor told Indigenous people who are homeless to “get a job” and asked if they wanted prescriptions for Tylenol 3

A southern Alberta doctor is engulfed in controversy after he allegedly told a group of Indigenous people who are homeless to “get a job” and sarcastically asked them if they wanted prescriptions for the addictive painkiller Tylenol 3.

Alberta Health Services has placed Dr. Lloyd Clarke on administrative leave from his position as the associate medical director for the southern region of the province, while the health authority investigates the incident.

A lawyer representing two of the Indigenous people involved filed a complaint with the regulator and watchdog for physicians, alleging Clarke’s “racism against my community members impairs his ability to treat us as patients in a proper way.”

After reviewing the case, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta rejected the complaint. But Ingrid Hess, the lawyer and a First Nations advocate, is appealing.

Hess says the alleged incident, which witnesses say took place outside a Cardston convenience store in May, has triggered outrage among members of the neighbouring Blood Tribe and inspired efforts to document other claims of racism in the region.

Clarke doesn’t confirm or deny

The lawyer says she didn’t witness it, but took a statement from some of the people involved, and filed the complaint on their behalf. She also notified Alberta Health Services.

Clarke, who practises at the Cardston Health Centre’s emergency department and at a separate clinic in the town, didn’t confirm or deny the incident occurred when reached by a reporter.

“I’m aware that the appropriate bodies are investigating this and I’m co-operating with that,” he said.

When asked in a follow-up interview to comment on allegations he has racist views toward Indigenous people, Clarke said, “It’s not appropriate for me to comment. I’m working with the investigation to go through this in the proper channels. I am co-operating completely with them.”

According to AHS, if any of the First Nations people involved in the alleged incident seek care at Cardston’s emergency room, they don’t have to receive care from Clarke, unless they have life-threatening problems that require immediate attention.

“There is no excuse for the comments that were allegedly made in this instance, and we want to assure those involved in this incident that this sort of alleged language in no way reflects the beliefs or values of AHS,” the health authority said in a statement.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons, which regulates the medical profession and investigates complaints against doctors, told CBC News Clarke’s alleged behaviour is “damaging” and “appears to show poor judgment.”

Ingrid Hess filed this complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. (CBC)

But the college said it doesn’t believe Clarke is prejudiced toward Indigenous people, concluding the incident didn’t amount to professional misconduct.

In a letter responding to Hess’s complaint, the college said it “cannot dictate the behaviour of what a physician does outside a clinical setting, excluding extreme circumstances.”

‘Blatant biases and negative views’

Hess has appealed the decision, calling for an investigation into whether “Dr. Clarke’s blatant biases and negative views of Indigenous people might influence his care of the Indigenous patients he treats, especially if they are drug-addicted, alcoholic or homeless.”

Clarke works in Cardston, where an estimated one in seven residents is Indigenous.

Nicole Gros Ventre Boy, one of two people Hess is helping with the complaint, told CBC News she was sitting outside a Cardston convenience store in May when she claims Clarke emerged from the exit.

“He stood there and he told us, ‘You guys should get a job’ … then he’s like, ‘My family are scared to come and shop here. You guys just bother people for money,'” she recalled.

‘I just felt like he was racist’

“Afterwards, he said, ‘Should I write you a prescription of Tylenol 3s?’ and he put his hand out and acted like he was writing.”

Gros Ventre Boy, who received health care from Clarke in the past, said the comments hurt her.

“I just felt like he was racist, like he didn’t like natives,” she said. “There was no reason for him to come up to us and talk. We were not doing anything.”

Gros Ventre Boy’s account lines up with the description of events outlined in Hess’s complaint. It’s also consistent with how Scott Many Grey Horses remembers the confrontation.

Many Grey Horses said he was not involved with the group, but was walking by when he heard Clarke say, “All you people need to get jobs.” In an interview with CBC News, Many Grey Horses said he didn’t hear the comment about Tylenol 3, but he intervened in defence of the group.

Downtown Cardston. (Google Street View)

Clarke called police

He said he was worried at the time the confrontation could come to blows, though Gros Ventre Boy said she didn’t believe there was any risk of violence.

“I said, ‘You need to get out of here; you’re just here to cause trouble,'” Many Grey Horses recalled.

The college said in its letter to Hess that Clarke had called police.

Hess said she has known most of the Indigenous people involved for most of her career and described them as having “overlapping social disadvantages,” including homelessness, poverty and chronic health conditions.

She said the allegations concerned her, especially because of the social and power imbalance between a doctor and people who are homeless.

“The people that we’re talking about were living in tents on the edge of town,” she said. “Those aren’t the kind of people who can just go out and get a job at the Reddi Mart in downtown Cardston.”

‘Concerns like this are damaging’

Steve Buick, spokesman for the college, said the regulator didn’t investigate whether the alleged incident actually happened. He said it reviewed the incident to determine whether the claims, if true, violated the college’s code of conduct and standards of practice.

“We have no doubt that there is an issue here of behaviour, and we will be telling the doctor that concerns like this are damaging and that he needs to avoid them in the future,” Buick said.

“We cannot have a physician practising in a community where the community has good reason to believe that he or she is racist or has other discriminatory views,” he said. “But let’s be clear: on the basis of this complaint alone, our judgment in the first phase of review is we don’t think it necessarily comes up to that standard.

“We don’t think that this complaint, on its face, would justify sanctioning a physician or removing him from practice.”

Buick said Hess can escalate her complaint to a second stage in the college’s process — an appeal to its complaint review committee — if she feels the first decision was unreasonable. She has done that.

“It will be up to the physician in this case to assure patients when he sees them face-to-face, if they’re concerned about it at all, that he does not have views that should disqualify him from treating them,” he said.

Dr. Lloyd Clarke, who is accused of making discriminatory comments toward Indigenous people in May, works at the Cardston clinic. (CBC)

Hess calls case ‘extreme’

Buick said the college’s priority when assessing complaints is the behaviour of physicians when they are treating patients. Still, he said there have been “extreme” cases in which the college took action against doctors for their behaviour outside the clinical setting.

He cited the case of Dr. Fred Janke, whom the college said would not be allowed to continue practising while he faces child exploitation charges.

Hess said she believes a doctor “exhibiting biased and discriminatory conduct toward a vulnerable and identifiable group of people is pretty extreme.”

Clarke’s alleged comments were the catalyst that inspired several members of the Blood Tribe to set up camp near the Cardston border in June to document claims of racism. The group said its goal is to raise awareness about prejudice against First Nations people, and to build healthier relationships between the two communities.

Last week, the group dismantled its camp along Highway 5, the dividing line between the town and reserve, after documenting a number of other alleged cases, which members plan to pass along to authorities, including the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Members of the Blood Tribe held a peace camp along the reserve’s border with Cardston to document cases of alleged racism. The group dismantled its camp last week. (CBC)

‘No excuse’ for alleged comments, AHS says

AHS said it’s also continuing to investigate the alleged incident involving Clarke, “and will take any necessary action once that investigation is complete.”

“We know that trust is a significant barrier to First Nations people accessing the health-care system, and acknowledge that institutional racism and stereotyping have kept people from getting the care they need,” AHS said in its statement.

“We also know that the relationship between AHS and First Nations people must continue to improve, and we are committed to building, nurturing and growing those relationships.”

CBC News

[SOURCE]

Two women charged with inciting hatred after social media post called for “shoot an Indian day”

Two women have been arrested and charged after racist comments on a Facebook page called for “a 24-hour purge” and a “shoot an Indian day.”

RCMP say the women, along with another who has not yet been arrested, posted hateful comments online after some vehicles were vandalized.

A Manitoba woman, Destine Spiller ranted on a Flin Flon Facebook page, blaming the local First Nations community for damage to her car after it was spray-painted with large, black lettering on all sides.

(Destine Spiller/Facebook)

Spiller’s post escalated into racist and threatening language against First Nations people.

In the comments, she said that she was going to “kill some Indians when I get home” and talked about putting together a day to shoot “Indians.”

A second woman agreed with her, and suggested getting a shotgun and alcohol.

A Facebook user under the name Raycine Chaisson suggested “a 24-hour purge.” Destine Spiller commented “it’s time to keep the animals locked up or have a shoot an indian day!”

According to CTV News, RCMP haven’t released the names of the women but said a 25-year-old from Denare Beach, Sask and a 32-year-old from Flin Flon, are facing charges of uttering threats and public incitement of hatred.

The same charges are pending against a third person. All three suspects are cooperating with police.

Urban Trendz Hair Studio, a salon in Flin Flon, posted on Facebook that it had let go of an employee following the social media posts.

“Our business has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of discrimination or racism. The person in question is no longer employed by us.”

The other woman’s Facebook account stated she worked in Flin Flon as a mentor and as a substitute teacher in Creighton, Sask.

The Flin Flon and Creighton school divisions said they do not tolerate racist behavior and that the woman hasn’t worked with the divisions for “some time.”

The first woman apologized the next day, saying she was angry and upset about her vehicle being tagged.

However, several people had already called RCMP about the women’s comments.

Both women have since deleted their Facebook accounts.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is applauding RCMP actions in investigating and arresting the two women.

Native American lacrosse teams leagueless in South Dakota

In this 2017 photo provided by Franky Jackson, members of the Lightning Stick Society lacrosse team pose with their 2017 Dakota Premier Lacrosse League championship trophy. The team is one of three that was kicked out of the youth league this year amid concerns about racial abuse. (Franky Jackson via AP), The Associated Press

Travis Brave Heart was planning to spend his senior season this spring and summer tuning up to play college lacrosse in the fall. Instead, the 17-year-old standout from Aberdeen, South Dakota, is faced with the prospect of not playing at all.

His Lightning Stick Society team was one of three Native American clubs kicked out of a developmental league in North Dakota and South Dakota amid their concerns about racial abuse, leaving players and coaches upset and scrambling to find ways to continue playing a game that originated with their ancestors and means more to them than just competition.

“I got my anger out of the way,” Brave Heart said. “I went outside and practiced lacrosse, even though it was snowing. After I played, I wasn’t angry anymore. Then I thought, ‘What do we need to get past this? To get playing again?’”

The head of the league rejected any notion of widespread racism, and said the teams were removed not for complaining but for issues such as unreliable attendance.

Lacrosse is considered America’s oldest sport — an important part of Native American cultures long before the arrival of Europeans. It’s still used to teach Native youth about culture, values and life skills like keeping emotions under control. It can also be a path to college for players who often come from impoverished reservations.

The Dakota Premier Lacrosse League is part of a surge in popularity. Participation on organized teams — mostly youth and high school level — more than tripled over 15 years to a record 825,000 players in 2016, according to U.S. Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body.

Since the Dakota league launched in 2016, Native American teams have experienced racial abuse that they don’t experience in neighboring states like Minnesota and Nebraska, said Kevin DeCora, a Lightning Stick Society coach.

“Racism kind of goes across the board with all sports,” he said. “It’s the attitude and belief that people in the Dakotas have always had to the indigenous population, for hundreds of years.”

As an example, Lightning Stick director and co-coach Franky Jackson and others cited a 2015 incident in which Native American children were sprayed with beer while watching a minor league hockey game in Rapid City.

Brave Heart said he has endured taunts about his Native American ancestry from white players and their parents, rough play he feels crosses the line into abuse and what he views as biased refereeing toward white players. He described an incident after one game, as his team was resting in the shade under some trees, in which a parent from another team carrying a cellphone camera came looking for evidence of drugs or alcohol, “assuming we were a bunch of drunk Natives.”

This undated photo provided by Denis Brave Heart, shows Travis Brave Heart, front left, of Aberdeen, S.D., playing lacrosse. Brave Heart plays for a team that was kicked out of a youth league in the Dakotas amid concerns about racial abuse. (Denise Brave Heart via AP), The Associated Press

The primarily Native teams expelled from the Dakota league — Susbeca and 7 Flames are the others — say they were kicked out after asking the league to address their allegations. They provided copies of letters they said they sent to the league and to U.S. Lacrosse in 2016 and 2017, detailing the cellphone-toting parent incident and other specific instances of racial slurs and overly rough play.

League Administrator Corey Mitchell said he received only one formal complaint, in 2016. He said he investigated and found no evidence of misconduct warranting punishment, but he provided a copy of an email he sent to people in the league after the complaint informing them of a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination or racial slurs.

Mitchell said the league had problems with the Native American teams including unreliable attendance and improper registration of some coaches and players.

“I think this is nothing more than a response to being held accountable,” he said.

Ali Vincent, who writes grant requests to fund the 7 Flames, said the teams dispute they did anything that warranted expulsion.

U.S. Lacrosse in a statement said “diversity and inclusion are essential components of our sport” and that it would investigate.

Mitchell acknowledged that the fledgling league has had its struggles, including inexperienced referees, but said it has strived to improve through such measures as requiring U.S. Lacrosse certification for coaches. He has formed a board of directors with Native American representation to run the league and said he will step down as director after this season.

None of the league’s predominantly white teams responded to requests for comment, though the association that runs the team in Fargo, North Dakota, quit the league and issued a statement saying it doesn’t condone racism. That association’s president didn’t respond to an interview request.

The Native teams said they are getting support and offers to play from teams around the country, and are lining up other opponents.

“At the end of the day, we only want these kids to play,” Jackson said. “We deal with disenfranchised youth that can’t even afford to buy a mouth guard half the time. We understand how to empower these kids.”

That’s true for Brave Heart, an Oglala Sioux tribal member who helped captain his team to a league championship last year and parlayed that success into an athletic scholarship at Emmanuel College in Georgia. But the sport means much more to him than a pathway to a future as an historic preservation officer.

“We play for the Creator, and we play for the community,” he said. “You think of all the people who can’t play, like people in wheelchairs and the sick, and when you play for them, you get this drive you just can’t explain.

“The day just gets better when you start playing,” Brave Heart added. “It’s definitely more than a game.”

___

By: Blake Nicholson The Associated Press

[SOURCE]

Racism Toward Indigenous People Escalating in Thunder Bay: Grand Chief

Nishnawbe Aski Nation chiefs begin emergency meeting to discuss student safety in Thunder Bay

The Canadian Press | July 6, 2017

First Nations leaders met for a second day Thursday to discuss serious concerns about safety of young people in Thunder Bay — a northwestern Ontario city that leads the country in hate crimes reported to police.

The decision to meet with federal and provincial officials was made last month, but recent tragedies have magnified its importance, said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

Those include a recent double homicide involving two Indigenous people in Thunder Bay and the death Tuesday of an Indigenous woman who was injured in January when she was hit by a trailer hitch thrown from a moving car.

“This is not the kind of conference that we want to have, but we have to,” Fiddler said in an interview. “I think the issues are too urgent.”

Barbara Kentner, 34, told police she and her sister were walking in a residential neighbourhood when someone threw the heavy chunk of metal from a vehicle. Her sister Melissa said she heard someone in the vehicle say: “I got one.”

Fiddler also cited last year’s Ontario inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations high school students, during which witnesses reported having had objects or racial epithets hurled in their direction.

“That’s something I think all of us need to acknowledge … this is a real problem,” he said. “I think that’s the only way we can begin to come together and address these issues.”

Last month, amid concerns about local policing expressed by First Nations leaders, Ontario’s chief coroner asked an outside police force to help investigate the deaths of two Indigenous teens.

Dr. Dirk Huyer asked York Regional Police to get involved in the investigation of the deaths of 14-year-old Josiah Begg and 17-year-old Tammy Keeash.

In June, Statistics Canada reported that most of the police-reported hate incidents in Thunder Bay targeted Indigenous people, accounting for 29 per cent of all anti-Aboriginal hate crimes across Canada in 2015.

“Young people have told me repeatedly of walking home and having things flung at them out of cars,” Thunder Bay MP and Liberal cabinet minister Patty Hajdu said following the release of the Statistics Canada report.

“Indigenous women and Indigenous men who have experienced going to a store … and when they put their hand out to receive change, the storekeeper will purposely not touch their hand.”

–Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

[SOURCE]

Watchdog: Calgary Police Made Mistakes In Investigation of Colton Crowshoe

Colton Crowshoe’s family speaks out against police investigation. Jul 26. Calgary. Body found in pond next to Stoney Trail

The Canadian Press  | April 13, 2017

CALGARY — An Alberta agency that investigates police says Calgary officers made a series of mistakes as they investigated the disappearance of a young indigenous man who was later found dead.

But the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team says it does not believe those errors in Colton Crowshoe’s case were the result of racism or that they amounted to a crime.

“The evidence gathered in the ASIRT investigation clearly demonstrates that the initial stage of this investigation was beset by a series of assumptions, errors, and oversights by (Calgary Police Service) personnel,” executive director Susan Hughson said Thursday afternoon.

“I want to make it clear, CPS has not been cleared of wrongdoing. CPS’s investigation into Colton Crowshoe’s missing person complaint was not done properly. The one thing we can say is that it was not the result of racism that we could find evidence of, but they are not cleared.”

Police charged 18-year-old Crowshoe in July 2014 with trespassing and break and enter. He was released from custody and was last seen on video walking away from a police station in good spirits.

But a few days later his family reported him missing and, three weeks later, his body was discovered in a city retention pond. An autopsy determined his death was a homicide and that case remains unsolved.

Crowshoe’s relatives alleged police did not take their missing person report seriously and accused the force of racism.

Colton Crowshoe

Hughson said ASIRT reviewed 28 other missing persons investigations and could find no evidence race played a role in how Crowshoe’s was handled.

Still, the investigation was botched.

“Several of the missing person policy protocols were not followed,” she said. “As a result, there was minimal investigation of the missing person report, no follow-up or file continuity, no accountability or file ownership, a failure to document relevant new information, and most importantly, no police-initiated communication with the family.

“They (the family) may have been wrong about the racial profiling potentially, but they are not wrong that there were problems with Colton’s missing persons investigation.”

The family also alleged that Crowshoe was roughed up during his initial arrest.

ASIRT examined that allegation as well and found that there were no grounds for criminal charges against officers.

“In this case, it is clear that at the time this contact occurred, the officer is in the lawful execution of his duties. He is doing his job,” Hughson said.

She gave the Calgary Police Service credit for reviewing the case itself after it came to light and making changes to the way missing persons cases are investigated.

She said there are lessons to be learned for all police forces when it comes to missing persons cases.

“They need to be treated as potential homicides in many cases,” she said. “Often people will turn up so I understand why there is almost a complacency … but in the cases where they don’t, that time can be critical.”

The Calgary Police Service issued a news release late Thursday saying their internal review has resulted in changes being made to improve the process of managing missing person files.

Those changes include “clearer guidelines for frontline officers and investigators as well as a more thorough accountability framework” that adds checks and balances to ensure missing person files are “managed to the highest standard possible.”

The service also said its policy around communicating with family members of missing persons has also been strengthened.

“To ensure we have covered all the concerns in the ASIRT investigation, we will be reviewing their report in detail to determine if any additional lessons can be learned,” said the statement.

“The tragic death of Mr. Crowshoe remains an active investigation and we ask for anyone with information to come forward.”

Hughson said Crowshoe’s family is devastated by the young man’s death.

“Someone out there knows what happened to Colton Crowshoe,” she said.

“This is a good, loving family that never gave up. Please, I am going to ask you to come forward. Give this family the chance to heal.”

[SOURCE]