Moostoos faces discrimination from OXFORD Property Group

First, I want to introduce you to my teacher and brother Gary Moostoos.

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Before I tell you about the incident that screams discrimination against Gary Moostoos on behalf of OXFORD Properties Group Inc., I want to offer you a quick bio about myself, which will make more sense by time you get to the end of this article.

My name is Daniel Gallant and I am a former violent white supremacist. I was a street kid for many years in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. I suffered sexual and physical abuse as a child. I was angry and lost. Since that time I changed my life. At the age of 26 I started post-secondary school with a grade seven education. After my first year of school is when I met Gary Moostoos, which was about 12 years ago. Since that time I have worked as a frontline human services worker, group home manager, counselor, researcher and advocate. I now have a BA in First Nations Studies and a Masters in social work, which Gary Moostoos is included within. I am currently a student of law in Kamloops, BC. My public work can be found in the media throughout the world. I am currently the director of Exit Canada, which is a non-profit that assists other violent extremists to leave violent lifestyles.

I tell a story of how Gary and my other friend Jerry have taught me lessons. This story called Scars of Past won a writer’s award at the UNBC Weaving Words National Indigenous Storytelling festival in Prince George during 2013. This is attributed and dedicated to Gary and Jerry.

…so basically my point is that without the support and love from people like my teacher and brother Gary Moostoos I would likely have continued on with my violent rampages and not experienced the profound degree of change that I have been gifted. Now more about OXFORD, Gary and the issue at hand…

Gary Moostoos is a First Nations Cree Elder in Edmonton, Alberta; Gary is from Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation.

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Gary’s work is recognized across Canada and he worked along with Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings across the nation. Media, Edmonton Police Services and the community of Edmonton have recognized Gary as an elder, teacher and healer.

Gary Moostoos has dedicated his life to assisting and supporting indigenous peoples who are in need. Gary’s commitment to helping people started over a quarter century ago. He worked in a hospital supporting people whom were sick, then as a youth worker for many years he assisted youngsters in connecting with cultural practices and spiritual teachings. Gary currently is employed as he works with homeless populations and survivors of the residential school system.

Instead of recounting his words I am going to offer you Gary’s facebook post of an incident he faced this week at the downtown Edmonton City Centre:

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“Oh my gosh I was eating noodles at City Center food court & a couple Security approach & stand over me as I eat. They asked for my name I asked Why? The one says that I looked suspicious & look like a person they banned. I asked who was this person & that they see me every day as I shop there & have to walk through there everyday to get to work. They then said I had to go. I asked to speak to the supervisor. Then she came with another fellow. She took a picture of me and said that I was associating with people who are banned & known criminals. I said I worked for the homeless and an Elder & I associate with whom ever needs support. Soon there was 8 of them & they asked me to leave my meal & go. I kept my composure I did not swear or was rude. 12 security escorted me out and said I was banned for 6 months. People were telling me they were banning native people all day. So when they approached me I turn my video on my phone. I wanna cry with all sorts of emotions running through me mostly NOW I feel how my inner city folks feel when they are targets. I don’t even wanna listen to the video. What should I do? I made a few calls but it leads back to one of the security that escorted me out… “

Aside from the racism Gary faces everyday in Edmonton, which I have witnessed first hand, he is now being condemned by a security team for merely doing his job. This is gross application of discriminative property rights in quasi-public areas conducted by a team of individuals who appear to have little regard for vulnerable populations and indigenous peoples.

I want to add a few more pieces of information about Gary Moostoos [see bottom for links to Gary’s work]. I include this link to my master’s thesis in social work because Gary has been monumental in my personal transformation from a violent white supremacist to a social justice advocate and practitioner. Gary has been instrumental in my life and the change therein. Moreover, I have gone on to help many people, which would not have been possible without Gary. Not only is Gary a healing practitioner for aboriginal peoples but he is also a practitioner for assisting all Canadians heal from racism and violence.

The conduct of the security team that works for OXFORD Property Group Inc. who manage the majority of the downtown Edmonton core has made a huge mistake by seemingly conducting themselves unprofessionally and abusing their powers as property owners, whether legally and or morally and ethically. Whether this conduct was manifested due to racial profiling or whether it was due to affiliation to ‘undesirables’ is merely seen as a minuet discrepancy or syntax. Either way OXFORD are reportedly attacking vulnerable peoples, Edmonton indigenous peoples and vulnerable people living in poverty, in the downtown Edmonton core who often access particular shops in the City Center Mall.

A direct and public apology to Gary Moostoos would be appropriate. A political gesture to show support for Edmonton’s homeless community from OXFORD Properties Group Inc. would also seem appropriate in response to this awful scenario. A gesture of this sort from OXFORD would both compliment and assist Gary Moostoos in his work of helping our society change. We as a society need to collectively move away from discrimination and abuse of powers. OXFORD should recognize the amount of work and the degree of Gary Moostoos’ commitment and work that he embodies.

Gary deserves more respect than this from those employed by OXFORD Property Group.

Here is a list of articles about Gary Moostoos’ work:

Aboriginal Voices Profiles

Spiritual adviser brings hope to the lost

Ottawa Citizen

Local Work

Boyle Street Stabbing

Traditional Drumming

Homeless Memorial

Boyle Street Memorial

 

For related blogs written by Daniel Gallant please click below:

Cultural Native Pride v. White Racial Pride

Bear Attack leads to Racist attack

Supremacy and Law

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About Daniel Gallant

Daniel is a social worker (MSW,RSW) and is a current student of law, who is also an emerging writer and has been published internationally in literary journals. Poetry is his primary creative processing tool, and also has published creative non-fiction (auto-biographic). He has a B.A. in First Nations Studies. I am a consultant for media, scholars, and government bodies about violent right wing extremism in Canada and a trained counsellor; Daniel offers services to individuals seeking to leave violent extremist lifestyles, and facilitates public speaking on matters of resiliency. Daniel presents Scholars from the Underground Blog in order to promote transformation and to contribute to create safe spaces in society for true cultural transformation. Canada has to move from a racist nation to an inclusionary society. We are blessed to live in a space and time where we can now talk openly about these social issues. Daniel welcomes you to is Blogosphere. http://scholarsfromtheunderground.com

11 responses to “Moostoos faces discrimination from OXFORD Property Group”

  1. Robin Arcand says :

    I truly believe that a apology should be made, in the Creators eye we are all brothers and sisters, no matter what the color of our skin is? Our blood is the same color, this is a awful thing to happen to any person no matter where we come from. Racism has to STOP! Some where and SOME HOW! I pray for people that do this to other people, it just show how angry they are as a individual or organization..hy hy

  2. Holly says :

    So Proud of YOU!!! I too am a Social Worker with a similar background/ not the same, but similar. I had mentors along the way-without them I would not be where I am. I know Gary from my Practicum days…he deserves an apology for this incident. He is a GREAT man, who does GREAT work for so many!!

  3. Sharon Baptiste says :

    Every act of discrimination does not succumb to forgiveness. Dr. David Ahenakew of Saskatchewan was charged for making a comment about Jews. This has got to stop, they the non indigenous can say and do stuff discriminatory to us and all they have to ask is for forgiveness. Don’t think so, we have been treated like dogs in this country for too long. I am so glad they made a mistake to target Gary Moostoos, security at the mall acted on commands from someone above them! I worked with Gary for many years and he like a brother to me. I am appalled this happened!

  4. Ellen Smith says :

    I too I’m an 70 yr old Gwich’in Elder, experienced racism, and abuse from whoever would like to abuse me. I am a Residential School Survivor, Past Certified Nursing Aide from Alberta, Social Worker with a Bachelor of Indian Social Work, if it wasn’t for caring sober Elders, I would not be where I am today. Haii,Haii, all my relations. Justice must be done for Gary. I have finally found my voice and you cannot shut me up. Try, I know all violence and it’s behaviors. So look out, we are warriors in a good way.

  5. Makere says :

    Reblogged this on The Turning Spiral and commented:
    “Gary’s work is recognized across Canada and he worked along with Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings across the nation. Media, Edmonton Police Services and the community of Edmonton have recognized Gary as an elder, teacher and healer.

    Gary Moostoos has dedicated his life to assisting and supporting indigenous peoples who are in need. Gary’s commitment to helping people started over a quarter century ago. He worked in a hospital supporting people whom were sick, then as a youth worker for many years he assisted youngsters in connecting with cultural practices and spiritual teachings. Gary currently is employed as he works with homeless populations and survivors of the residential school system.

    Instead of recounting his words I am going to offer you Gary’s facebook post of an incident he faced this week at the downtown Edmonton City Centre:…”

  6. Richard Douglas Brinkman says :

    I think what is important to remember is that racial profiling happens in all levels of society – The actions from a small few do not reflect everyone as a whole including other security personal working at the City Centre Mall – many management, security, retail personal and consumers would be conscious not to racial profile another human because it’s outright wrong. We must also remember that city malls including the City Centre Mall do much good for our community as a whole – including opening their doors respectfully with no resistance the “Idle No More” flash mob round dance as shown in my video from 2 years ago – elder Gary is well known for his good works for others, perhaps he deserves an apology and a dinner at the expense of Oxford’s management – I would start the process of understanding that day by offering the elder tobacco as the first step of respect – http://youtu.be/ouSuxj7y3vA

    • Clive Garlow says :

      Sorry Richard. Receiving a gift of tobacco from someone who has no knowledge or respect for its spiritual significance to us would be utterly meaningless. Trite even.

      Then you suggest we should be more understanding of the security guards, that those guards involved may not represent the rest of the guard employees of OPG. Richard, a total of twelve guards ejected Gary from the premises. I would say 12 guards would be the majority of OPG’s guards if not all of them.

      Regarding OPG’s “generosity” in “allowing” Idle No More to perform a flash dance isnothing but P.R. to lull a gullible public into seeing them as great guys. I accept that as part of good business practices but that’s all it is. Good business practice and shouldn’t be confused with any form off real goodwill. It generates dollars. The bottom line. That’s all.

      Yes, Gary DOES deserve an apology. A SINCERE and very PUBLIC apology considering they publically humiliated him by ejecting him from the premises using TWELVE security guards! For OPG to say it will lift the ban AFTER a meeting with Gary sounds very suspect to me. If I were a man given to imagining things I would imagine they have conditions which he will have to comply with before they allow him back in the mall.

  7. gary says :

    I would be proud to stand beside Gary if they decide to protest this injustice by taking over the food court for say a Friday lunch. An apology means nothing now, the damage is done. There is no doubt in my mind that this was racial profiling at it’s ugliest A lawsuit must be filed on behalf of Gary and others that they have singled out, so as to have them actually deal with there action instead of sweeping it under the rug. I am sorry Richard Brinkman a free bowl of soup will not cut it.

    • Linda says :

      It is indeed a sad day when racist and discriminatory practices by ignorant few can spoil it for the rest. However, I do see this quite frequently when the “ego” takes over by the “security” and/or police force and runs the show. It is the security staff in the Oxford management that has to be “edu-ma-kated”….about our cultural ways and values. I am saddened by the treatment of our elder which seems to be the norm. Let’s not harbor the past, but to not address how our community reacts screams “racial profiling” lives on in our nation where “indigenous” populations reside.

  8. Clive Garlow says :

    Daniel. Thank you for this impressive background on Gary Moostoos. I was proud to defend him as much as I could with my words and feel even better about that since reading your post.

    My deepest respect to you personally for the battle you have fought with your own demons. I’m 71 years old and it’s people like you and Gary who are MY heroes. Nia:wen.

  9. Nima says :

    It’s a shame that this is still going on. It speaks volume of the discrimination faced by Aboriginals. “racial profiling” has no place in Edmonton or Canada, unfortunately it still exists. One only needs to travel to see how visible Muslims are supposedly randomly picked for a pat search. I hope he has filed a lawsuit as this was a blatant disregard for his rights. As for the comment by Richard Douglas, it adds another insult, as if offering tobacco will alleviate in any way what has been done. I disagree that the employees of OPG are generally good. Twelve of them teamed up against one person.
    I have witnessed security guards abuse their power in the mall. I work downtown and I frequent the City Centre daily.
    Shame on them. I will boycott the food court and anything to do with the City Centre Mall.
    I hope others will do the same.

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