Apology demanded from the Hyatt hotel after an Aboriginal person was denied access to the restroom
Members of the BC Association of Native Friendship Centers (BCAAFC ) and the Council of First Nations Leaders of British Columbia (FNLC) during a press conference on Friday morning.
Two Indigenous groups in British Columbia are demanding a public apology from the Hyatt Regency hotel in Vancouver, after an Indigenous man was denied access to the washroom by a hotel employee, a treatment that they call it “racist and disturbing”.
In addition to the public apology, the BC Association of Native Friendship Centers (BCAAFC) and the Provincial First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) calls on Hyatt Regency to provide mandatory anti-racism training to all of its staff.
In a statement, the associations describe the incident experienced by one of the BCAAFC's cultural advisors during a multi-day meeting of members in February at the hotel Vancouver Hyatt Regency.
One evening, after supper, he needed to use the toilet urgently. He went to the nearest restroom, which had been used by participants since the start of the meeting, but a hotel employee refused him access, despite his repeated requests.
“This resulted in a public and humiliating incident. […] The Cultural Advisor says the Hyatt Regency employee laughed at him and smiled after noticing his wet clothes. The BCAAFC cultural advisor was extremely humiliated and traumatized. »
— Extract from press release
The Hyatt Regency employee only allowed the BCAAFC cultural adviser access to the restroom once it was too late, the statement said.
The associations also deplore that the management of the Hyatt Regency did not recognize this incident as an act of racism against Aboriginal people, nor the broader problem of systemic racism. which often targets this population.
They point out that the cultural adviser received only a brief apology, in which the incident was presented as a misunderstanding and which alleged that the hotel employee was only doing his job. He was also offered a breakfast coupon as compensation.
The Hyatt Regency employee's behavior and management's response were abhorrent, unreasonable, and demonstrated a gross disrespect for the dignity and well-being of a respected knowledge keeper. It must be clear that the discriminatory denial of a person's basic needs is the result of systemic anti-Indigenous racism and is nothing but a violation. of human rights, add the associations.
The Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver.< /p>
At a press briefing on Friday morning, BCAAFC executive director Leslie Varley clarified that the association is not seeking financial compensation from the hotel. She would also like the Hyatt Regency not to consider the incident as the action of a single employee.
We want all staff to be trained to understand their biases against Indigenous people and we want steps to be taken to ensure systemic racism is addressed across the organization. x27; organization of the Hyatt, she insisted.
After this incident, the BCAAFC indicates that it has given up holding an event that brings together a thousand young Aboriginal people, entitled Gathering Our Voices , at the Hyatt Regency as scheduled, concerned for their safety. This event is due to take place at the end of March.
In an emailed statement, Vancouver's Hyatt Regency General Manager Patrick Gosselin says the team conducted an internal investigation and concluded the employee was following [the] overnight protocol of closing rooms. restrooms in unused areas of the hotel and to redirect that person to an open restroom.
He adds that the employee allowed the man to use the toilets about 20 seconds after [meeting him] and learning that he was a hotel guest.
In the press release, Patrick Gosselin specifies that the Vancouver's Hyatt Regency hotel has taken reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples very seriously with an emphasis on [employee] education.
It says that all hotel managers took the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation course offered by the First Nations University of Canada last year, and that the course has been made available to all hotel employees.