By Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
An American Indian woman is accusing border guards in Saskatoon of racial profiling after she was stopped while entering Canada and asked her heritage and if she was part of the Idle No More movement.
Patricia Stein told APTN National News her flight arrived in Saskatoon at about 3:20 p.m. Friday and was questioned by a Canadian Border Services Agency officer about where she was going and who she was going to see.
The officer ordered her to a “secondary” meeting and Stein was ushered to a waiting area before being interrogated by a different officer.
“The first question the officer asked me was my heritage,” said Stein who told him she’s Lakota and German. “He literally had a pad of paper in front of him and wrote ‘Native American’ down and circled it.”
The officer wanted to know who she was going to see. Stein said a friend. In fact Stein was using frequent flyer miles to fly to Saskatoon and had to use them up by a certain time or they’d expire.
“Then he came back to the Native questions and asked “have you participated in Idle No More?'” said Stein.
She said the officer then asked if she’d ever been paid for her “activism.”
“No one gets paid for that. Who in the world is going to pay us for that?” said Stein, who during the throes of the Idle No More movement in December and January was in Egypt and held her own rally in front of the Canadian Embassy.
She is also outspoken about Indigenous rights, especially missing and murdered women.
“The questions were all very, very weird,” said Stein who after an hour and half was allowed into Canada. “It was the most blatant racism I have ever seen.”
When she asked why they were asking her all the questions she claims the officer said it’s “routine.”
A call to the CBSA was not immediately returned. A spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews needed more information and didn’t immediately provide comment.
But it didn’t end there according to Stein who claims she had to show the officer how much money she had in her bank account.
She pulled it up on her phone.
“According to him (they ask for bank records) to make sure people don’t come in and stay here but that’s weird as I have my return flight in six days,” she said. “They wanted bank statements from me but everything kept coming back to how active are you with Native activism.”
She described the office she was in as typical with a desk with a computer. She didn’t get the name of the officer but said he was a middle-aged man with red hair and a thick build.
Stein said border guards asked her over and over again if it was her first time in Canada. She told them it is.