POLITICS

Settlements reached in discrimination complaints filed by Labrador men

11/26/2014 12:31 EST | Updated 01/26/2015 05:59 EST
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. - The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission says a settlement has been reached in discrimination complaints launched by three Innu men against a now-defunct hotel.

The men, all from the Sheshatshiu First Nation, filed complaints with the commission following the incident in July 2007 at the former Hamilton Hotel in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

A news release says the men had gone to the hotel for a training session when the manager told them to leave.

The release — sent jointly by the commission, the First Nation and the hotel's owner — says the men were made to feel unwelcome because they were Innu.

Glenn Noseworthy, whose company owned the hotel, says the incident was unacceptable and he's proud to make amends.

"What happened to the Innu that day was simply unacceptable," Noseworthy said in a statement. "Innu people should be welcomed in all businesses here in Labrador."

The news release says Noseworthy was not personally involved in the incident.

The settlement with Glenn Corporation Ltd. includes compensation, an apology, and a donation to support the construction of a playground in Sheshatshiu.

The complaints were referred to a Human Rights Commission board of inquiry, but that step is no longer required because settlements have been reached.

"We are pleased that the parties in this case were able to work together to reach a resolution," said Carey Majid, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission. "In particular, the release of this joint statement does a lot to promote an understanding of human rights issues in the province."

Chief Andrew Penashue said something positive has come from the incident.

"A lot of our members have experienced racism. When it happens, it doesn't just affect the individual, it's really an attack against all of us as Innu people," he said.

"The next generation needs to have a better experience, and I think the playground is a great way to remember that."

Noseworthy said he has worked with the Sheshatshiu Innu Band Council for more than 30 years.

"I would like to see the next generation of Innu have positive experiences both in the community and in town, and I look forward to pursuing many future endeavours together," he added.