On Dec. 20, 2019 Maxwell Johnson and his 12 year-old granddaughter, Torianne, were racially profiled and handcuffed after trying to open a bank account at a BMO branch in Vancouver.
What happened to Max and Tori was terrible and shocking, but unfortunately it was just one example of the spectrum of racism Indigenous people face in Canada everyday.
In May 2021, Sharif Mohammed Bhamji tried to open a bank account at a TD branch in Clayton Heights near his home. When he presented his new Indian status card with his name and picture on it, the bank denied him service, claiming the card was fake. They also called the police, who later went to Bhamji’s house.
Whether it’s being denied service at a restaurant, being followed by security guards in a grocery store, or being made the subject of racist jokes and slurs by staff, Indigenous people, and other people of colour, experience racism on a regular basis.
These seemingly isolated incidents connect to much deeper patterns of colonial violence and systemic racism against Indigenous people, including Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the recent forced removal of Wet’suwet’en people from their homelands. This racism dates to the creation of Canada itself and continues to the present day.
It is all connected, and it must stop now.