Indigenous Elder upset at treatment from Walmart

The chief from the Muscowpetung First Nation is upset that one of her elders feels like she was a victim of racism at a Regina Walmart.

Elder Joyce Keepness asked customer service there to buy 10 $100 gift cards at the east side Walmart last October after her cousin’s funeral.

But the questioning Keepness received there led her to leave without buying the cards and led to an investigation by Walmart. Her co-worker, who Keepness noted has lighter skin tone, was able to purchase the gift cards without incident.

Keepness received the final report of the investigation but she said she was never contacted about before she received the final report in March.

“I was hoping for an apology and maybe we can meet with these young men, with he manager, with myself and a couple other elders and try to figure out how we could remedy the situation,” Keepness said.

Muscowpetung First Nation Chief Melissa Tavita said that as indigenous people, being followed around or treated differently, happens often.

“And I just want to say what would Walmart be like if all of our First Nations stopped shopping at Walmart,” Tavita said.

Felicia Fefer, a Walmart representative, responded in an email that “the investigation did not substantiate that the customer was treated in a discriminatory manner” and that “there appeared to be a misunderstanding about our processes related to ordering large quantities of gift cards.”

Fefer said they take concerns of this nature seriously.

“Respect is a core value at Walmart Canada and we do not condone any behaviour which contradicts this value, including racism and discrimination. Walmart is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for our associates and our customers.”

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