The information checkpoint has been in place for months and staff there have been subject to threats (RCMP photo)

Threats, racism being directed at COVID-19 checkpoint staff: Remote B.C. First Nation

The staff at the checkpoint have been subject to threatening behaviour on multiple occasions

Staff at the Nuxalk Nation’s emergency operations information checkpoint on Highway 20 have been subject to threats and aggressive behaviour on multiple occasions, said centre director Jessica Miller. The Nuxalk are located near Bella Coola on B.C.’s central coast and have been urging people to stay away in fear of COVID-19 spreading to their community.

Miller said there have been at least two serious incidents where staff felt they were directly threatened, including one incident where a traveler said he had COVID-19 and threatened to spit on them.

“Just under a week ago our staff encountered a traveler that refused to cooperate with the information requested and said he would spread COVID by spitting on them,” said Miller. “They’ve also experienced underlying racism and aggressive behaviour.”

The emergency operations centre also reported that another traveler refused to slow down or stop and instead accelerated towards checkpoint staff before slamming on the brakes.

“Our staff member was almost hit by this person and this is not the first time there has been an encounter like this with this individual,” Miller said. “It is understandably extremely upsetting for our staff members, our team and leadership, and we are all very shaken up by the incident.”

The information checkpoint has been in place since March 25 and was recently moved from the bottom of the hill to Kettle Pond on Highway 20.

Miller said while the majority of people who pass through the checkpoint are respectful, incidents like these are disturbing and are being taken seriously. Miller says both incidents are being reported to the RCMP.

READ MORE: Remote First Nation on B.C.’s central coast asking non-essential travellers to stay away

More to come.

CoronavirusIndigenousracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

UPDATE: Fire above Sparwood no threat to community

Mayor David Wilks reported it may be due to an exposed coal seam

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

EKC makes $5,000 donation to Elk Valley ultrasound campaign

The EKC challenged other businesses to help the campaign hit its $300,000 target

City of Fernie to extend pilot snow removal program

Councillors voted unanimously on Sep. 17 to extend the program due to a lack of data points and disruption due to the pandemic

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read