Two women arrested for inciting hate speech against Indigenous Canadians on social media

By Marina Wang

RCMP announced the arrest of two women in Flin Flon, Manitoba, for “hateful and threatening language against residents of First Nations communities” earlier this week.

The threats appeared on a Facebook page following a spate of vandalism to vehicles and property. The police have not announced the names of the persons arrested, as the charges have not been sworn in a court of law, but a screen-shot of their conversation identifies the names of the perpetrators.

One woman, Raycine Chaisson, suggested having a 24-hour purge. Another woman, Destine Spiller, responded with “it’s time to keep the animals locked up or shoot a Indian day!” Chaisson then agreed and wrote “Lets grab Budweiser and some shotguns”.

A third alleged perpetrator is also pending arrest, and all three have been cooperating with police. Spiller has lost her job over the incident and has since apologised.

Bobby Cameron, chief of the Federation of Sovereign Inidgenous Nations, lauded the arrests in a statement. “This life threatening attitude must be stopped and those guilty of it must be charged for a hate crime and it must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he wrote. “We will no longer tolerate these blatant acts and statements of racism in Canada.”

Hate speech targeting Indigenous persons are all but new: the CBC was forced to shut down its comments section for  Indigenous news as racist vitriol grew out-of-hand. Canada’s racist hate speech problem was also made apparent following the death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man who was killed on a farm in northern Manitoba.