Edmonton

Anti-racist activists call for change in Grimshaw in response to apparent KKK hood

A group of anti-racist activists held a demonstration at the Canada Post in Grimshaw, Alta., Saturday in response to reports of a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style hood there earlier this month.

RCMP say they are still investigating a complaint about the hood

About a dozen people from the Alberta Humanitarian Initiative travelled to Grimshaw, Alta. Saturday to do anti-racism advocacy. (Submitted by Taylor McNallie)

A group of anti-racist activists held a demonstration at the Canada Post in Grimshaw, Alta., Saturday in response to reports of a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style hood there earlier this month.

About a dozen people from the Alberta Humanitarian Initiative, a collective of different Alberta groups that have been working together for about a year, travelled to the town about 500 kilometres north of Edmonton to try to engage the community in a discussion about racism.

"It was a good half-and-half mixture of people supporting and people not wanting us there," said Taylor McNallie, a member of Inclusive Canada, which is part of the initiative.

A photograph, shared widely on Facebook in early January, shows a man in jeans, a reflective work jacket and a pointed white hood with eye slits cut into it.
A concerned citizen photographed a man entering the Canada Post in Grimshaw, Alta. on Jan. 8, 2021, wearing a white pointed hood that appears similar to the head coverings worn by the Ku Klux Klan. (Supplied.)

The hood resembles the head covering worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), an infamous white supremacist hate group. 

McNallie said they were planning to go to the post office and town hall, and leave letters for Mayor Bob Regal that were written by both locals and people from across the province about the hood incident.

They also hung pictures up on the post office, which McNallie said were torn down by a woman who told them the town was not racist and that they shouldn't be there. She said the RCMP attended and told them to ensure they wear masks but that it was fine for them to be there.

"It's just a lot of white fragility is what it is. It's hard to be learning all of these new things that you've probably gone your entire life not knowing about," said McNallie, who grew up in the small Alberta communities of Cremona and Didsbury.

"If you're not a racialized person, racism is not something you often have to talk about. These are new ideas, these are new things challenging an entire system."

  • Northern Alberta RCMP investigate apparent KKK hood worn to Canada Post
  • Man charged with assault at Red Deer anti-racism rally, as police investigate 2 other 'criminal incidents'
    About a dozen people from the Alberta Humanitarian Initiative travelled to Grimshaw, Alta. Saturday to do anti-racism advocacy. (Taylor McNallie)
  • The group has posted some calls to action for Grimshaw, including asking the man who wore the hood to come forward and make a public apology, and for the mayor and town council to engage in anti-racist training and to make those resources available to the wider community. 

    "This isn't about creating a divide because there's been a divide there for hundreds of years already," she said.

    RCMP confirmed it is investigating a complaint about a person wearing a head cover resembling a KKK-style hood at the post office on Jan. 8. On Monday, RCMP issued a news release saying that all information has been passed along to Alberta's Crown prosecution service for review.

    On Sunday, Cpl. Terri-Ann Bakker said an individual has been identified but that the investigation remains open. She added that police are still hoping to speak to anyone who may have witnessed what happened.

    Better known for its presence in the United States, there has also been a well-documented KKK presence in Canada and Alberta. Some of the Klan's ideas are reflected in the ideologies of other far-right and white supremacist groups operating in Canada today.

    With files from Tricia Kindleman

    Comments

    To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

    By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

    Become a CBC Member

    Join the conversation  Create account

    Already have an account?

    now