ALBERTA

Alberta Government Fires 2 Employees Over Racist Text Message

The message was accidentally sent to the wrong person.

06/26/2017 20:56 EDT | Updated 06/26/2017 20:56 EDT
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STAND OFF, Alta. — The organization that delivers health programs for the Alberta government has fired two employees over a racial slur made against an indigenous educator.

Last week Alberta Health Services apologized for a text message that was sent between two workers that referred to a member of the Kainai Board of Education as a "rabid squaw."

Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of AHS, said Monday that two employees have been terminated effective immediately.

"This incident is not representative of who AHS is or what AHS stands for," Yiu said in a release.

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Ramona Big Head, a principal on the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta speaks to reporters in Standoff, Alta., on Thursday.

"All AHS employees are expected to adhere to our Code of Conduct, which includes treating all people with dignity and fairness."

The slur was accidentally sent to an employee of the Kainai Board of Education, which provides services for the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta.

Last Friday Annette Bruisedhead, deputy superintendent of the board, said the AHS employee later apologized.

Bruisedhead called the comment a severe act of discrimination and racism that would not be tolerated.

Others 'share the same dark, racist thoughts'

At the time Ramona Big Head, the principal of the middle school on the reserve, said she was the employee being referred to in the text.

She said the AHS official and many others "share the same dark, racist thoughts.''

A spokeswoman for the chief and council said the incident has hurt many people.

Yiu said no further information about the terminations or the fired employees would be released.

"AHS is committed to advancing the process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples and communities, and we will move forward from this incident together with our indigenous communities and all Albertans."

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