Indigenous people described as 'lazy', 'racists' in another private RCMP Facebook site - APTN NewsAPTN News

Indigenous people described as ‘lazy’, ‘racists’ in another private RCMP Facebook site

Trina Roache
APTN Investigates
APTN has discovered another series of racist comments about Indigenous people in a different secret Facebook group for RCMP members only.

News stories on Indigenous issues shared in the group from the summer and fall of 2017, drew a range of comments calling Indigenous people “racists,” “lazy,” with a “sense of entitlement.”

When a Squamish Chief in B.C. suggested tearing down a historic RCMP building to make way for reconciliation, a Mountie wrote, “There comes a time when someone needs to stand up to these spoiled children and tell them to just f— off.”

In response to a story posted about a First Nation in British Columbia that refused to evacuate during the wildfires, a member posted, “what an ignorant bunch of clowns.”

Another commented, “You can’t fix stupid,” followed by, “You can . . . just let the fire do its thing.”

“Any of these social media posts that are being brought to our attention, there is an immediate response to it,” said Brenda Butterworth-Carr, Commanding Officer for RCMP ‘E’ Division in British Columbia.

“There’s a review of it and a process initiated. That’s just the standard of the approach to it,” she said in an interview with APTN. “There’s no tolerance to it. There’s zero tolerance.”

There was tension between the RCMP at the Alexis Creek detachment in BC and the Tl’etinqox Government when Chief Joe Alphonse and some of his community members decided not to evacuate.

On April, 23, the RCMP and the Tl’etinqox have since made an effort to reconcile in a healing circle.

“We did have RCMP personally that didn’t have the level of education or knowledge that our communities, our chiefs have that authority in our own communities for evacuation orders but we’ve rectified that,” said Butterworth-Carr.

“Certainly those are those situations where we would likely look to the leadership of the community and say is this something you believe we can reconcile.”

The secret Facebook group is not administrated by the RCMP, but it has close to 10,000 members.

And some of those members identify as Indigenous officers in their responses to some of the racist posts.

In the thread about the Squamish chief wanting reconciliation, the officer who called Indigenous people “spoiled children” later comments:

“There comes a time when we have apologized more than enough and compensated enough.”

A woman who identifies herself as a First Nation member responds, saying, “I’m proud of my career as an RCMP officer and the incredible non-FN members I have met that have done great work in our communities.”

But she adds, “For anyone who says ‘get over it, it was 100 years ago’ . . . I went to residential school!!!”

And the response to that from another officer;

“Does an end date exist? Or are my great-grandchildren expected to continue to reconcile?”

Sources who spoke to APTN, Indigenous Mounties who didn’t want to be identified, said the exchange was disheartening.

A sentiment reflected in a comment in the Facebook thread that reads, “As a First Nation member…every time I hear comments such as above, the sting never gets easier. It hurts twice as bad coming from co-workers that I would protect with my own life. Ignorance is a shameful thing. Awful.”

Last February, APTN reported on a racist post by a Mountie in a different, closed Facebook group.

In the wake of the Gerald Stanley acquittal in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, the female officer wrote, “Too bad the kid died but he got what he deserved.”

The family of Colten Boushie took their complaints about the RCMP handling of the investigation and their treatment of family members to the RCMP watchdog, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission.

That story was shared in the closed Facebook group called ‘News Stories that May Matter to or Impact RCMP,” showing a photo of Boushie’s family in Ottawa.

The reaction from a member of the group; “So much concern now, where was that concern when Colten was growing up.”

In the next comment, an RCMP member writes; “Anyone from the SUV they were in there? Can’t tell in the photo . . . they must be obscured by grieving family.”

RCMP Assistant Commissioner, Shirley Cuillierrier, who is a Mohawk woman from Kanesatake, a mother of two kids and a 36-year veteran on the force, said these comments on social media are hurtful to everyone.

“There are many Indigenous employees and police officers in the RCMP. And I’m not sure when comments are made like that that people recognize that, in fact, it could be hurting their own colleagues,” said Cuillierrier. “Let alone Indigenous peoples.”

Close to 1,900 people who work for the RCMP self-identify as Indigenous. And of that number, 1,500 are police officers.

“It’s incumbent upon individuals to call that out,” said Cuillierrier. “And it’s not to be tolerated in the RCMP. Part of our core values is respect. And that’s respect for all peoples in Canada.”

Sources have told APTN that an internal complaint was filed about the posts in the secret Facebook group back in October, but that there’s been no word on any investigation.

“I think there’s a disparity in terms of the seriousness that it’s accorded and I think that’s a mistake,” said Larry Hay, the director of Intelliquest Investigations.

Before Hay became a public/private investigator, he served for nine years as the police chief on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario, which is where he’s from. And before that, he was a Mountie for 19 years.

He says the typical penalty for these kinds of racist comments is a day without pay.

“It’s the failure on behalf of executives within the policing organization to deal with this effectively and to deal with this seriously,” said Hay.

Under the RCMP code of conduct, these kinds of racist comments would fall under the section 2.1, which is about respect and courtesy.

Helen Meinzinger is a conduct advisor with the RCMP.

“My role as a conduct advisor is to work with our managers who wind up ebbing the conduct authority,” explained Meinzinger. “So for example, if you were an employee and a complaint was made against you, it would go to your manager first. Your manager would then reach out to me.  And I would work them through the process.”

The process involves an investigation to see if there was a breach of the code, a look at precedence on how similar misconduct was handled and then it goes back to the officer in charge to decide how it gets dealt with.

There are 10 sections of the RCMP Code of Conduct. Within each section, there are varying degrees of seriousness. From remedial to corrective to serious. And the response, what the RCMP calls “measures,” can range from admonishment, a reprimand, a written reprimand, to a day without pay to dismissal.

“I’m not sure if there’s ever been a dismissal based on a 2.1,” said Meinzinger. “You could technically get to a very serious level with it. But the 2.1 covers disrespect. Discourtesy. It also covers harassment, sexual harassment.”

‘E’ Division commander Brenda Butterworth says the RCMP takes these comments seriously.

“Incredibly seriously. Immediate response,” said Butterworth-Carr. “There’s no tolerance for it.”

But there’s also no public accountability. Canada’s Privacy Act prevents the RCMP from releasing personal information on its employees. And violations of the code of conduct are considered personal information.

The only time the breaches become public is when it warrants dismissal.

“To me, it’s a misuse of the act,” said Hay. “And I think often times, it’s abused, and it’s used to restrict the flow of information to the public.”

Hay says the Facebook posts by an officer about Indigenous people that refer to “substance abuse,” a “culture of victimhood,” reflect more than a lack of respect.

“It’s a reflection of total ignorance,” said Hay. “A lack of understanding of history, not just of Indigenous people, but of Canada.”

Hay says it’s also a concern that these are police officers who are or may be policing Indigenous people, in their community or on the front lines when Indigenous people assert rights and defend their land.

“That negative stereotyping makes it easier to perpetrate harm on those individuals,” said Hay. “Once you dehumanize someone or something it becomes easier to be abusive and to not expect consequences.”

The RCMP emphasized to APTN that it incorporates mandatory cultural awareness and bias-free policing programs into its training for cadets and new officers. Similar programs are offered for senior officers. There are Indigenous Policing Branches in each division across the country.

“The vast majority of those who work for the RCMP, they come to work, they do their jobs and they do them really well,” said Butterworth-Carr.

“There’s constant communication, education. And ensuring that it’s very much in alignment with all of our priority and planning purposes,” she continued. “And if people are going to act inappropriately, they get called out for it.”


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21 Responses to “Indigenous people described as ‘lazy’, ‘racists’ in another private RCMP Facebook site”

    Louis Elder May 3, 2018 at 3:40 am #

    Come to cranbrook

    lorna May 2, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

    Comments like this will never stop from “certain” individuals.Can’t fix stupid and ugly.
    However,on the bright side,so many non native RCMP,and Nurses that don’t have attitudes like this.I have worked with so many of them and know this first hand.Can’t paint all with the same brush.

    kathy May 1, 2018 at 11:35 pm #

    You would figure after this many years, PEOPLE WOULD REALIZE WE ALL BLEED RED !!!!

    KFC May 1, 2018 at 3:54 am #

    Political correctness has destroyed our ability to find the truth.

      Robert Edwards May 2, 2018 at 3:04 am #

      Define “political correctness”.

  5. dustin51@hotmail.Ca'
    Dustin May 1, 2018 at 12:51 am #

    I’m a Metis who grew up one gem off reserve. I was raised in a cycle of addiction and abuse. The RCMP built me up from nothing to a proud man. APTN should be ashamed of itself. This isn’t news, it’s a joke. I’ve worked shoulder to shoulder with Canada’s finest, of all ethnicities. Absolutely disgraceful and pathetic. This isn’t news.

      Bobbi Smith May 8, 2018 at 4:22 pm #

      You can only change what you acknowledge- As a Metis you luckily had a good experience – I would not take that from you. However, for those who have had negative experience, we all need to deal with this & change what must be changed.

    George Orwell May 1, 2018 at 12:48 am #

    “APTN has discovered another series of racist comments about Indigenous people in a different secret Facebook group for RCMP members only. News stories on Indigenous issues shared in the group from the summer and fall of 2017, drew a range of comments calling Indigenous people “racists,” “lazy,” with a “sense of entitlement.”

    Being called a racist, lazy or being told you have a sense of entitlement is NOT a racist comment or statement. Yes, they are disrespectful and shouldn’t be said by a member of the public let alone a member of the RCMP, however If saying someone has a sense of entitlement is a racist term then a good majority of people who speak negatively about millennials are in fact racist. See how easy it is to twist words?

    This journalist should be ashamed for publishing such click-bait. Are you that bad at your job that you can’t write something without pulling out the race card?

      Robert Edwards May 2, 2018 at 3:03 am #

      What it is is fuzzy thinking. To attribute characteristics to an individual based on their birthdate, without other evidence, is to think at the level of a child. “They are all X” is not sentence that should ever be uttered by a professional.

    Keith May 1, 2018 at 12:31 am #

    Doesn’t change what their great grandfathers did to my great grandparents. Is this how the past reflects on US!! Oh well another day..I will continue my education to sit in cabinet and set my Teepee in center.

      Dan May 7, 2018 at 2:50 am #

      I find this whole dialogue hurtful. Majority of comments promote divisiveness and an “us versus them” mentality. (Thank you to those who are trying to stop generalisations.) We are all from the Creator and we have all said hurtful things in life…but are too quick to point fingers, (remember, 3 point back.) Fortunately there were a few comments that tried to mediated the divisions. How are comments like “white sheet” helpful?
      Myself, I identify as Metis, was taken into Children’s Aid at 6 years of age and lost my entire family. I have seen hatred and abuse everywhere from all peoples, but I have seen much good too. Today, I am not accepted in one place becauseof how I survived and have grown past midlife trying to fit in. In the place I want to serve and help, I am not accepted because my physical appearance is that of a colonizer. This hate and divisiveness isn’t helping anyone. It alienates people on either sides of issues.
      Today, I hold 5 degrees including sociology (almost completed my latest in Indigenous Social Work.) I have two honourable discharges, have served as a peace officer and have letters of faculty in theology. But here I sit, still waiting for reconciliation and the hatred to stop so I can help. Waiting for my blond hair and blue eyes to stop being a barrier, waiting for social service agency to recognize that where I came from is my strength, not my weakness, waiting to help save other children from being torn from their family and communities, waiting for what I’m losing faith can ever happen…for thosr people from both sides who hate to be embraced with compassion, dialogue and a better understanding of why hate is what causes the divisions and reproduces more hate. Stop it people. Help others; stop hurting others.

    Brenda April 30, 2018 at 11:15 pm #

    It’s not clumping everyone together. It is just awareness that unjust and unethical behaviours are taking place between people in authority. We can’t just urn a blind eye and hope for the best. This is real.

    Dustin April 30, 2018 at 10:11 pm #

    Hey APTN, you have zero ethics. I’m a Metis who has proudly served for12 years. I grew up on welfare, the RCMP broke ne out of a cycle of violence and poverty. Try investigative journalism, instead of smear campaigns. Pathetic.

      Ron Desjardin May 1, 2018 at 6:57 pm #

      So now what? Keep hiding our heads in the sand while this cancerous blight of racism continues? We need to be open and upfront about the issues our people face in society. Healing only comes through open and honest dialogue with a vision for safety, justice and wellbeing fro all the marginalized of our society.

    Linda Campbell April 30, 2018 at 9:26 pm #

    this just goes on and on and one would think that we need to not only live in this country together but to stop this out cry of continually putting humans down. I am not lazy nor do I feel privileged due to the fact I have worked all my life…in spite of the 60 plus years of hearing so much of this racial bullshit directed .yes. at me …
    Grow the hell up and if this is what you were taught time to make changes in your narrow minds. OMG . will it ever stop?

    Michael Kannon April 30, 2018 at 8:31 pm #

    Bantering about cases on unsecured Face Book in this day and age is foolhardy. What else have the RCMP been discussing?

    April P April 30, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

    I have to say this. There are some not so great ones, but there are also some great RCMP officers that we can’t forget in this. A lot of hate is going to be shown towards them after this article. In my 30 years living in a small arctic community, where we have an RCMP base, I have met and worked with many great officers. There were quite a few who really made an effort to engage with the community, be a part of the community, volunteer coaching sports, attend events and show much kindness. Let’s not forget those officers. Too often we share negative stories like these that paint a negative image of these officers and sometimes it can affect the way people in our communities treat them, in turn having officers not feeling welcomed or closed off. I don’t mean to pass off the times where indigenous people have experienced racism, I just want to point out the good that others have done, because there are definitely some bad apples out there. Just like any police force in any Canadian city/town. I want to say thanks to all those caring members out there who have treated us as equals and with kindness!

      Doris Edwards April 30, 2018 at 8:06 pm #

      I agree whole heartedly. There are equally great FN peoples as well. So why do we as human beings, feel it’s okay to clump everyone all together? We will not resolve anything if our language portrays the radical idea “that they” are all the same.

      Darlene Fraser April 30, 2018 at 11:47 pm #

      I do not trust police myself, ive heard alot of racist comments from our detachment here and they aren’t nice.
      A policeman is supposed to have respect for each and every individual and if you don’t respect police who can you respect. Don’t respect politicians either. Nor chiefs. They’re all crooks.

    Wedlidi Speck April 30, 2018 at 3:24 pm #

    This is so disheartening to read. Protected by a closed site, several racist, privileged and clearly biased members elected to dump their ignorance. This is a organizational site that should serve to support members to grow cultural Awareness, sensitivity, agility and safety. Instead, the site has merely served as a white sheet to hide behind. Very disappointed.

    Bernice Heather April 30, 2018 at 3:00 pm #


    My university Elders taught me that it is important to know who you are and where you are from. I study the history of people who came here from other countries and why they came here. I also wondered why they are the way they are to the Indigenous people here…the racism, hatred, genocide, oppression…the degeneracy that has culminated into what it all is now.

    Many came here to our traditional territories on Turtle Island. Some who came here suffered extreme hardship in the countries they are from and there are numerous learn from.

    Many were starving, living in extreme poverty, running away from war, disease, being kicked off of their lands and being replaced with sheep, climate change is creating mobilization so there will be many more immigrations to Turtle Island.

    This is one book that will help more people to understand where much of the degeneracy stems from as well as why there is so much resource extraction here.

    I share this in a good way to create more understanding of how and why things are the way they are now.

    White Trash: the 400-Year Untild History of Class in America. Nancy Isenberg. Viking. New York. 2016.

    I taught the History of Indians Residential Schools to B.C and Yukon government Workers and in those workshops some people came and stood with me because they remember that they as settlers would never have survived the first winter here without the First Nations help.

    The way things are going now w they are manifesting themselves right out of their own destiny here on Turtle Island with all the resource extraction…even if we deny it we ALL need clean air clean waters and clean lands to continue surviving here. There is no Newfoundland to get sent to to extract resources from to our own detriment and great despoliation of our air, lands and waters.