In a press statement today, the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. reported it had heard a growing number of concerns regarding the treatment of First Nations customers shopping at Walmart in Thompson, Man. and the treatment of First Nations by the security firm hired by Walmart, and in response is planning a peaceful march to protest racism MKO said shoppers have experienced at the store.
The march against racism will start at 1 p.m. on July 20 at the Giant Tiger parking lot at 436 Thompson Drive. The march will move along Thompson Drive North, ending at the Walmart parking lot, where there will be speakers of people impacted.
MKO says it welcomes all those who want to stand up to racism, including non-Indigenous allies, to join the march.
“There is ongoing mistreatment of First Nations citizens when they are shopping at the Thompson Walmart. This is unacceptable,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “MKO has heard from a significant number of First Nations citizens who say they have been racially profiled.
“First Nations contribute significant amounts of money to this corporation’s profits. On July 20, 2020, we will march and gather to remind Walmart that the surrounding First Nations are essential to the economy of Thompson. The Impact Security Company needs to be mindful that cultural proficiency is key to ending racism and should be part of their training to ensure racial profiling does not occur.”
MKO stated it sent a letter to Walmart on July 3 to request a meeting to engage in a solutions-based dialogue about the corporation’s plans to improve the quality of service First Nations citizens can expect to receive. MKO will meet with managers from Walmart to further discuss the ongoing concerns and to bring forth solutions the Grand Chief and MKO have discussed, the press statement continued.