(File)

B.C. First Nation ordered to pay $30,000 for ex-chief’s ‘vulgar’ remark

Former Nee Tahi Buhn councillor had filed complaint

The Nee Tahi Buhn First Nation in the Burns Lake area must pay a former band councillor $30,000 after its one-time long-standing chief councillor described her as a “white bastard” in several emails.

The award to Hayley Nielsen was ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal following a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission regarding the conduct of Raymond Morris.

After two days of hearings in November, the tribunal found that Nielsen, whose mother is a member of the First Nation and whose father is Caucasian, was discriminated against because of her racial origin.

Morris used the term “white bastard” in two 2016 emails, with one stating “I resign f—-en white bastards run it.”

Nielsen was elected in 2014, the same time Morris was re-elected as chief. He was defeated in 2018.

Her position of not practising a religion appears to have been the start of a deteriorating relationship with Morris, said a tribunal ruling recently posted online.

At a band assembly in 2016, Morris “loudly proclaimed that since Ms. Nielsen does not practise religion, she should not serve as councillor,” the ruling said.

Nielsen remained in her post, but resigned in 2017 citing a developing toxic environment.

Another councillor, Charity Morris, also resigned because of Morris’ harassment, according to the document, as did Nielsen’s son, deputy chief Cody Reid.

READ MORE: Indigenous mother wins $20,000 discrimination case against Vancouver police

A representative from The Nee Tahi Buhn First Nation attended some of the hearings, but the nation did not enter any evidence nor offer a defence.

“Ms. Nielsen felt directly targeted by these vulgar words, which refer directly to her Caucasian origins,” the tribunal wrote in a decision recently posted online.

“Similarly, Mr. Raymond Morris’s vulgar comments, specifically the terms ‘white bastard,’ are outrageous.”

The $30,000 award was divided into two parts — $5,000 for pain and suffering and $25,000 in lost wages from the time of her resignation in 2017 to the election date the following year. She was also awarded interest of $500.

Nielsen had also asked for a letter of apology to be published on the First Nation’s Facebook page and in the Lakes District News, but the tribunal ruled that was not within its authority to order.

It did, however, order the nation to develop human rights and anti-harassment policies in consultation with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and hire an expert to train employees and councillors.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Talin Verigin elected SD 20 trustee

Verigin will represent rural Castlegar RDCK Areas I and J.

Castlegar autism workshop helps parents cope with wait times

Kootenay Family Place holding workshop Feb. 1

Columbia Basin Trust shuffles board, new leaders at the table

The Trust is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors

School District 8: No visiting Chinese students have coronavirus

SD8 says its international students have already been screened for the virus

Snow scenes around Castlegar

Our favourite reader submiltted photos.

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

Most Read