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Officials denounce racist graffiti on Penticton Indian Band signs

Hate crime has generated renewed anger and hurt in PIB community, says chief
Officials across Penticton from the mayor to the RCMP denounce hateful, racist graffiti that was spray painted on PIB signs recently. (File image)

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel, Penticton Mayor Julius Bloomfield and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen chair Mark Pendergraft, along with the RCMP, are rejecting racist words and symbols and those who spray-painted signs.

The Penticton Band Council held a special council meeting early Monday morning upon learning of this racist act of vandalism to their band signs located on band land.

“There is no doubt that this disgusting act is a hate crime and has generated much-renewed anger and hurt throughout our community. As of this morning, more signs were discovered vandalized with more hateful and racist graffiti,” said Chief Greg Gabriel. “All local governments must send out a strong message that this type of racist ugliness will not be tolerated and must be condemned. Our PIB signs can be replaced, however, the ugliness of this type of racism will continue to live within our community for generations.”

“These acts of ignorance need to be rejected and the perpetrators need to know that their actions strengthen our resolve to walk beside PIB community members and build a stronger relationship,” says Penticton mayor Julius Bloomfield. “Brandishing a paint can as a weapon is not an act of rebellion, it’s a sign of ignorance and sadly it brings up memories of racism and bigotry for PIB members. We can’t wash those memories away, but we can denounce the racism categorically and continue to do our part to construct a better future.”

Someone entered PIB territory and defaced the Green Mountain Road signs with common racist language and symbols of hate.

“The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen stands united with PIB and the City of Penticton in denouncing racist acts and vandalism,” said RDOS Chair Mark Pendergraft. “This behaviour does not represent the feelings and beliefs of the people of this region.”

Penticton RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter is asking anyone who might have seen the vandals to contact the RCMP.

“This was an act of vandalism motivated by hate. We don’t know if it was one person or a few, regardless, this is not representative of who we are as a community, “said Hunter. “We have zero tolerance for racist, derogatory or hateful comments and we are fully investigating this incident. As a community, we are looking to lead forward with compassion and understanding and denounce racism at every opportunity.”

READ ALSO: Reconciliation mural defacement a display of ‘hate against Indigenous people’: Summerland Mayor

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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