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FSIN speaks out after woman accuses Sears employee of racial profiling

The FSIN says racial profiling is unacceptable after a recent incident at a Sears store in Prince Albert.
The FSIN says racial profiling is unacceptable after a recent incident at a Sears store in Prince Albert. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is speaking out after a First Nations woman said she was racially profiled at a Sears Canada store in Prince Albert, Sask.

B. Helen Ermine said she was approached by an employee while on her way to the till to pay for a comforter on Sept. 20.

READ MORE: Indigenous woman in Saskatchewan says she was racially profiled by Sears employee

Ermine said the employee, who wasn’t wearing a name tag, insinuated she was attempting to steal the item.

She said along with being racially profiled, she was insulted and then ejected from the store and when she returned with her husband, the employee shouted at them and locked the door.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said the incident only serves to further strain the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

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“We are upset to hear of more recent racial profiling accusations and of the alleged mistreatment of a First Nations woman,” Cameron said in a release.

“There is distrust between our communities which could be addressed by simply treating people in a kind manner even when there is a dispute going on.”

He added there is the possibility of a human rights complaint being filed.

“This incident is a prime example for a human rights complaint against Sears because of the way they are dealing with this situation that occurred,” Cameron stated.

READ MORE: Amal Asmar’s racial, social profiling case first of its kind to be heard in court

Sears Canada spokesman Vincent Power has acknowledged an incident occurred between Ermine and a loss-prevention employee, but are not providing details on what happened due to privacy concerns.

Power did say the company would describe the incident differently.

“We believe that how our staff dealt with the couple was fair in light of the circumstances surrounding what occurred,” Power said in a statement last week to CKBI.

“We would not tolerate discrimination in any form.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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