The Grand Chief of Treaty 6 said he's personally disappointed to hear a young indigenous man was ejected from an Edmonton shopping mall in last month.
Grand Chief Tony Alexis said he knows Cory Nicotine and describes him as a "dedicated advocate for indigenous youth in Edmonton."
Nicotine, 27, said Kingsway Mall security had no reason to even approach him when he was shopping there on the afternoon of March 26.
He said after buying a sweater and trying on clothes in several stores, he went to a bathroom inside the mall.
Nicotine said when he walked back out into the mall, he was met by two security guards.
"They told me the store had called them, telling them that I had been in there acting suspicious, basically."
The Cree man said he was escorted from the mall that Saturday and told he was being banned for one year.
Alexis said he's concerned.
"When I heard this happened to him, immediately I was disappointed that this company, again Oxford property, was in such a situation again," said Alexis, referring to indigenous outreach worker Gary Moostoos, who was banned from Edmonton City Centre Mall in October 2014.
City Centre Mall and Kingsway Mall are both managed and owned by Oxford Properties.
"It seems there's a lot of people regarding Kingsway on social media, saying that they don't want to go back to that place, they don't want to go there," said Alexis. "And there's a lot of indigenous consumers that go there, and the fact they continue to treat people in this way, it's not good on their business."
Mall says staff already properly trained
Days after Moostoos was banned, City Centre Mall apologized to him for the way he had been treated, lifted the ban and promised to work on building trust with all communities.
In that case, the mall admitted mistakes were made and said it would do cultural training with staff using materials provided by the city of Edmonton.
Alexis wants to see a similar approach from Oxford Properties this time.
"I encourage them to offer cultural awareness and sensitivity training to their staff at all of their properties in Edmonton," said Alexis.
Kingsway Mall said it will not comment, even to confirm whether Nicotine was actually banned, because of a possible legal action.
But a spokesperson said the mall is confident there was no racial profiling in the case, pointing out that one of the security officers in question is aboriginal.
The mall said all of its staff as well as contractors already receive cultural sensitivity training, and the participation rate is 100 per cent.
Edmonton lawyer Kate Engel has taken Nicotine's case and is considering legal action.