Saturday, January 20, 2024
RE: Statement from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation regarding Social Media video of First Nations woman at the Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba
On behalf of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, we are deeply concerned and outraged at the video footage of a First Nations woman at the Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that is currently circulating on social media.
The young woman in question is from a First Nations community in Northern Manitoba and was in the city for a medical appointment.
First, it is unacceptable that FNIHB places our people in deplorable and run- down hotels in dangerous locations in the city. Unsafe lodging puts our women, girls, and Two-Spirit relatives’ safety and lives at risk. We are talking about populations that are already highly vulnerable.
Second, the actions witnessed and words stated/shouted on the video are unmistakable. This young woman is clearly in distress. With her hands bound with a zip tie behind her back, the staff of the Marlborough Hotel are forcibly confining her in the lobby of the hotel. Moreoever- the hotel staff do NOT have the legal right to do this, and why do they have zip ties?
The woman is crying out for help and making severe allegations of confinement to the hotel basement and physical and sexual assault. And the young First Nations woman is visibly distraught- yet no one comes to her aid. The one man trying to advocate for her is ordered to leave the hotel.
Third, the events that precipitated the video’s subject matter are irrelevant. There is no justification for treating one of our women in a violent, threatening, and abusive manner.
We have the right to live, and we have the right to feel safe!
Therefore, we implore all Indigenous peoples and allies to attend the rally at 2 pm on Sunday, January 21, 2024, at the Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg! We must DEMAND answers and accountability for our Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit relatives.
FNIHB must be held accountable as well for placing our First Nations people in unsafe accommodations when they come to Winnipeg for medical treatment. This systemic racism compounds the vulnerability of our people. Finally, we must stand in solidarity against the violence perpetrated against our people- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Chief Angela Levasseur
On behalf of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation