Vancouver Hyatt called out for humiliating Indigenous man

Mar 12 2023, 12:49 am

Indigenous leaders demand accountability after a terrible incident that humiliated a vital community member.

In a statement from the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, Indigenous groups call for action following the “racist and disturbing mistreatment of a First Nations man who is a beloved Cultural Advisor and staff member of the BCAAFC by the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.”

Indigenous leaders want a public apology, mandatory anti-racism training for all staff, and for the Hyatt to demonstrate accountability following the incident.

According to the statement, the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) had a membership meeting at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver hotel from February 23 to 25.

After dinner, a Cultural Advisor needed to use the restroom and went to the closest available one right by where they had been having meetings the last two days at the hotel.

A Hyatt Regency employee reportedly refused access to the restroom.

“After a fourth and urgent request to enter the restroom, the Hyatt Regency again barred access until the Cultural Advisor could no longer control their need to use the toilet, resulting in a public and humiliating incident,” the statement reads.

The Cultural Advisor was “extremely humiliated and traumatized” by the incident, and said that an employee mocked them, smirking after noticing their wet clothing.

According to the statement, Hyatt Regency management has “failed to acknowledge this act of anti-Indigenous racism and harm, and the larger issue of systemic racism that so commonly targets Indigenous people.”

Indigenous leaders say that at first, they were dismissed by upper management, and then given a weak apology that did not acknowledge the harm caused by the incident.

Since then, Indigenous leaders have been denied the opportunity to speak with higher-level management.

“The behaviour of the Hyatt Regency employee and response from management was abhorrent, unreasonable, and displayed a gross lack of respect for the dignity and well-being of the respected knowledge keeper,” they said.

“It must be made clear that the discriminatory refusal of a person’s basic needs was the result of systemic anti-Indigenous racism and is nothing short of a human rights violation. Corporations that profit from our community must be made aware that mistreatment and anti-Indigenous racism will be called out and investigated with immediacy,” they said.

BCAAFC will no longer hold its events at the hotel following the incident.

Daily Hive has reached the Hyatt Regency Vancouver for a response and will update this story.

More to come…

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