Woman Comes to Help First Nations Women, Gets Harassed by Border Guards

patriciastein


According to Patricia Stein, she was racially profiled by Canadian border guards and grilled about her political affiliations when she arrived in Saskatoon yesterday.

I first told you about Patricia's 'Arming Sisters' campaign in March. Patricia is currently touring North America providing self-defense instruction to aboriginal women. Yesterday was her first stop in Canada. According to APTN:
"Patricia Stein told APTN National News her flight arrived in Saskatoon at about 3:20 p.m. Friday and was questioned by a Canadian Border Services Agency officer about where she was going and who she was going to see.

The officer ordered her to a “secondary” meeting and Stein was ushered to a waiting area before being interrogated by a different officer.

“The first question the officer asked me was my heritage,” said Stein who told him she’s Lakota and German. “He literally had a pad of paper in front of him and wrote ‘Native American’ down and circled it.”

The officer wanted to know who she was going to see. Stein said a friend. In fact Stein was using frequent flyer miles to fly to Saskatoon and had to use them up by a certain time or they’d expire."

“Then he came back to the Native questions and asked “have you participated in Idle No More?’” said Stein.

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It is obviously disturbing that border agents are grilling visitors on their race and their politics but it is more disturbing given the realities facing native women in Canada.
"According to Canadian government statistics, Indigenous women are five times to seven times more likely than other women to die as the result of violence. The Native Women's Association of Canada has documented more than 580 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, most within the last three decades. Because of gaps in police and government reporting, the actual numbers may be much higher.

Canadian police and public officials have also long been aware of a pattern of racist, sexist violence against First Nations, Inuit and Metis women in their homes and on the streets. But government response has been shockingly out of step with the scale and severity this tragedy."

It is a national humiliation that Stephen Harper does not want the issue investigated. It is truly frightening though to think that the Canadian government might actively try to actively prevent someone from helping First Nations women, although there are clues as to why that might be the case.

You can follow Patricia Stein on Twitter @PygmySioux.
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