This story originally appeared on VancouverIsAwesome.com on June 16, 2021.
Following a traumatic and humiliating incident that took place two years ago, two Heiltsuk Nation members have more supporters in their corner.
One rainy Friday in December 2019, Maxwell Johnson and his then 12-year-old granddaughter Torianne Tweedie stopped by a Bank of Montreal location in Vancouver to open a bank account for Tweedie. When they handed their Indian status cards over to identify themselves, the bank noticed some discrepancies on Tweedie’s card and the pair were flagged as possibly being fraudulent. That prompted a phone call which led to two Vancouver police officers detaining them both outside the bank, handcuffing and searching them.
The incident was widely covered with condemnation being thrown to BMO’s fraud practices but also to the VPD’s use of handcuffs. Both organizations offered up statements addressing their respective behaviours with Vancouver’s mayor Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who also serves as the chairperson of the Vancouver Police Board, accusing BMO of misleading the VPD.