REGINA — About 40 people have staged a demonstration to show support for an Indigenous man who was physically removed from a Canadian Tire store in Regina after being accused of stealing.
People banging drums, waving flags and holding up signs took to the parking lot at the store Friday afternoon, including Kamao Cappo of the Muscowpetung First Nation.
Canadian Tire officials apologized earlier this week after Cappo posted a video to social media showing him being pushed by a store employee who accused him of shoplifting.
Cappo was in the store buying a chainsaw, an extra chain and oil but when he was at the check-out, he realized he had the wrong model and took the goods to the customer service where he put the chain and oil inside the saw box for ease of handling by the clerk.
While looking for the right model, Cappo said he approached by a male store worker who accused him of trying to shoplift and ordered him out, which led to a scuffle.
Cappo went public with the video and his story, saying he was discriminated against because he is Aboriginal.
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"We sincerely apologize for the experience that occurred in our store and we are actively reviewing all of the facts surrounding this matter," Canadian Tire's corporate head office said in a statement.
"We are communicating with Mr. Cappo directly, and we hope to resolve this matter as quickly as possible."
It would be worthwhile for them to take responsibility and to look racism right in its ugly face and say you know what, it happened here.Kimberley Jonathon, vice-chief, FSIN
Kimberley Jonathon, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, told Friday's rally the incident highlights the racism Indigenous people experience daily.
"It would be worthwhile for them to take responsibility and to look racism right in its ugly face and say you know what, it happened here," Jonathon said. "But what can we do to affect change and to be that positive champion?"
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron told the crowd they want to see Canadian Tire discipline the employee in the video and want an appropriate apology made to Cappo.
Cappo said the Indigenous community's support comes from a place of shared experience.
"If you're being jabbed with a sharp stick every day, no matter how patient you are, at some point you're going to become angry," he said.
Cappo said he was surprised by how much support he has received from many different types of people all across Canada.
They don't even know me, I'm a complete stranger to them. But they see an injustice and they are outraged.
"They don't even know me, I'm a complete stranger to them," he said. "But they see an injustice and they are outraged."
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