(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

COVID-19: 2020 Peach Classic Triathlon cancelled

Athletes’ inability to properly train main reason for cancelling the long-running event

Childcare service in South Okanagan to serve just essential service workers

On April 1, OneSky childcare centres will only be available to essential service workers

Thousands affected by Penticton power outages

Two corresponding issues have resulted in approx. 7000 without power

Summerland care facility orders reusable masks

Okanagan Valley quilters ready to produce cloth masks if needed

COLUMN: Plenty of online reading options

Libraries are closed due to COVID-19 but downloads are available through Okanagan Regional Library

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

Okanagan Telus customers’ service interrupted

Equipment failure caused a service disruption in parts of Western Canada Tuesday

COLUMN: Summerland council taking stock of its finances in wake of COVID-19

Municipality must examine effect of pandemic on budget items

Neighbours surprise Shuswap health-care worker with show of appreciation

Residents in subdivision greet neighbour on return from work at Salmon Arm hospital

Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

Government has signed deals with three companies

World COVID-19 updates: Putin may be exposed; 30,000 prisoners released

Comprehensive news update from around the world as of Tuesday, March 31.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘This is no joke’: B.C. woman in Alberta hospital asks people to stay home during COVID-19

‘I want people to start listening to what the doctors are saying. This is no joke, please stay home’

Most Read