Woman loses job at Flin Flon, Man., hair salon after proposing 'shoot a Indian day'
Present and past employers denounce comments of 2 women involved in racist rant
A woman has lost her job at a Flin Flon, Man., hair salon after a racist tirade where she threatened to kill "Indians" after her car was vandalized.
Destine Spiller was dismayed to find her white car was spray-painted with large, black lettering on all sides, she told her Facebook friends on Saturday.
In subsequent comments, Spiller ranted that she would "kill some Indians when I get home," and proposed a "shoot a Indian day."
Screenshots of the posts — and her friends' comments in response — were shared hundreds of times on Facebook, with many posting in opposition to the comments.
On Facebook, the hair salon announced it fired Spiller because of the views she shared.
"This is not the feeling of myself or my staff," said the Urban Trendz Hair Studio page.
Spiller apologized on Sunday for acting out in anger.
"I wasn't thinking when I said it," she wrote on Facebook. "I was mad about my brand new car being trash for no reason."
Several people commented on the original post, including another woman whose former employers distanced themselves from the racist comments. Raycine Chaisson, posting in response, suggested a "24-hour purge."
Chaisson previously worked in some capacity with the Flin Flon School Division and Creighton Community School in Saskatchewan. The Flin Flon School Division denounced her remarks.
"The individual making the comments is no longer an employee of our division and has not been for some time," the division said on Facebook.
Several people online said they contacted the RCMP.
Racism is nothing new to Jackie Traverse, an Indigenous advocate in Winnipeg, but she was shocked by the boldness of the threat.
There's no humour in anything like that.- Jackie Traverse, Indigenous advocate
"I couldn't believe that somebody would actually think that it was all right to post something like that on social media," she said. "This is a hate crime and it's inciting violence against Indigenous people."
Traverse said Indigenous people continue to mourn the death of Colten Boushie, a First Nations man shot to death while on the Saskatchewan property of a white farmer.
Comments suggesting a death, even if meant as a joke, draw parallels to a painful tragedy that ignited racial tensions throughout the country, she said.
"We're still suffering the loss of Colten," Traverse said. "There's no humour in anything like that."
Tom McDermott grew up in Flin Flon and belongs to Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. He said he cried when he read the post and comments on Facebook, which prompted him to take to the social media platform in an hour-long live video, calling for people to have a difficult conversation about racism.
"I'm Indigenous in Flin Flon. I hurt when I heard those comments. I have grandchildren, I have children," he said. "I have to think about them. I have to break away to make the world a better for them to live in."
McDermott's video had been viewed more than 13,000 times Tuesday morning. He hopes that this incident can be a teachable moment and help bring people together.
"We all have a responsibility to change this now. Yes things were said. Yes people were hurt. Yes, people are very, very mad, upset. However we can move on and we will move on."
Flin Flon Mayor Cal Huntley said his community of 5,000 people has a reputation for being safe and welcoming. He hopes this incident doesn't change that perception.
"You have a very emotional response to what appears to be ... some damage to the young lady's property," he said. "I'm certain that her comments do not in any way indicate the character of the city of Flin Flon."
The two women have since shut down their Facebook pages. CBC's efforts to contact them were not successful.
With files from Omayra Issa and Cameron MacLean