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Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs condemns sign saying store refuses to accept status cards as ID

Port Hardy liquor store had posted sign; status cards are issued by federal government to prove a person’s legal standing under the Indian Act.
File photo of Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. PHOTO BY JASON PAYNE, PNG

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has condemned an orange sign that was posted at a Port Hardy liquor store stating that it didn’t accept status cards as identification.

The sign at the Quarterdeck Beer and Wine Store in Port Hardy has been ordered removed, according to a statement from the management of the Quarterdeck Inn Port Hardy. Photos of the sign were widely shared on social media.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said in statement that it’s “deeply concerned” about the sign, saying Indian status cards are federally issued government ID and such a policy is “discriminatory, anti-reconciliation and a clear violation of the human rights of Indigenous people.”

It also said the sign highlights continuing systemic racism against Indigenous people by Canadian businesses. “The fact that such a sign was printed and displayed in the same colours widely associated with the Orange Shirt Day campaign and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation demonstrates a disturbing lack of awareness toward modern Indigenous issues.”

It’s “entirely unacceptable that this insensitive and racist message was broadcast in the store” and “reinforces a message of discrimination and stigma” associated with the use of a status card, the statement said.

Quarterdeck Inn and Quarterdeck Restaurant and Pub management posted an apology statement on Facebook, saying that the beer and wine store was recently taken over by new owners. The statement said they “do not condone” such behaviour and were “very sorry for this unpleasant incident.”

The new owner of the liquor store was told to take down the sign immediately, the statement said. “We will prevent this from happening again.”

A report released in the fall found that nearly all Indigenous people have encountered discrimination when using their Indian status cards in everyday transactions at stores and businesses.

Status cards are issued by the federal government and proves a person’s legal standing under the Indian Act. The cards can be used as a form of ID.

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