Condemning racist graffiti

The Secwepemc people were the target of hate-filled, racist graffiti over the Canada Day long weekend. 

On the Secwepemc Morel Mushroom sign, vandals wrote "F*ck Indians," "White is Right," and "White Power" in red spray paint and black permanent marker. 

The First Nation is calling it the work of white supremacists and is calling on all Canadians to condemn the act.

"This is wrong at so many levels," Shuswap Nation Tribal Chair Kukpi7 Wayne Christian stated, "On the heels of the Canada Day long weekend, many are feeling smug about Canadians' way of embracing diversity and sentiments of inclusiveness. We have just been served a hatred-filled reality check from a portion of Canadian society."

Christian called Canadians to challenge those sentiments of human rights, inclusion and diversity.

"Complacency now can be interpreted as complicity," he stated. "Prime Minister (Trudeau) committed to real change during his election campaign — real change needs to take place within the homes of Canadians."

Christian wants Canadians to have the "hard conversations" around the dinner table and for government and local organizations to speak about, and act upon, what respect and inclusion look like. 

"It means shining a light on the dark history of Canada and a further commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation's 94 calls to action," he stated. "It means learning about us, the Secwepemc, our history, our knowledge, commitment and love for our lands, laws and people, knowing that we seek a bright future for all who reside in Secwpemc'ulecw."

In May, the province posted a sign outside traditional Secwepemc Territory stating that anybody who wished to enter the lands to pick morel mushrooms must first obtain a permit. 

The sign reads: 

"Begining in 2018, all mushroom pickers and buyer need to obtain a permit to harvest, buy or sell non-timber forest resources within the Secwepemc Territory. 

"Harvesters and buyers will need camping permits to be used designated camping/buying stations. These campsites will be serviced with portable toilets and waste bins to reduce the ecological footprint on Secwepemc Territory. 

"We ask that you work with us to ensure that the Secwepemc Territory 2018 Elephant Hill Fire Morel Harvest, is safe, respectful and protects our land and home for future generations."

Experts believe that the massive Elephant Hill wildfire created ideal conditions for morel mushrooms and this year could yield a large crop.

A harvester permit cost $20 and is valid until July 31. 

A camping permit cost $30 and is valid until July 31.

The cost fo the buyer permit is $500 and is valid until July 31.

All fees are waived for status card holders from a Secwépemc Community.

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