(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

Pup stolen from Vernon temporary shelter reunited with owner

Nicola Sanders says her son’s puppy was ‘overjoyed’ to see her owner again

GALLERY: Vernon painter captures beauty of Davison Orchards in new series

In a new painting, card series, artist Patricia Lawton was inspired by resident dog, Harlow

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Car show a hit at Vernon retirement resort

GALLERY: No drooling over the classic cruisers parked at Parkwood Retirement Resort

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Mitchell’s Musings: Hockey’s comeback begins in earnest in August

Sports is back. Well, at least sports in a bubble is back.… Continue reading

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Most Read