People banging drums, waving flags and holding up signs took to the parking lot at Regina’s east end Canadian Tire to show support for Kamao Cappo Friday afternoon.
The Muscowpetung First Nation resident posted a video to social media showing him being pushed by an apparent store manager, who accused the Indigenous man of shoplifting.
About 40 people were at the event outside of Canadian Tire, including officials from the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN).
FSIN Vice Chief Kimberly Jonathon told Saskatchewan Afternoon the incident highlights the racism Indigenous people experience daily.
“It would be worthwhile for them to take responsibility and to look racism right in its ugly face and say you know what, it happened here,” Jonathon said.
“But what can we do to affect change and to be that positive champion?”
Olive Ironeagle, Cappo’s mother, was also at the event.
“Something like this you just can’t let go,” she said. “We have to let the world know.”
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron also spoke to the crowd.
He said they want to see Canadian Tire discipline the employee in the video and want an appropriate apology made to Cappo.
The incident has gained attention from people across the country, and some people at the event shared stories about times they felt discriminated against.
“The discrimination against Mr. Cappo was so unwarranted and its been like this all across the country,” said Prince George, B.C. resident Norma Caldwell, who was in Regina due to the wildfires in her home province.
“What gives other people the right in a store to say ‘no we don’t trust you so we’re going to follow you around.’”
Cappo himself was also at the demonstration.
He said the Indigenous community’s support comes from a place of shared experience.
“If you’re being jabbed with a sharp stick every day, no matter how patient you are, at some point you’re going to become angry,” he said.
Cappo said he was surprised by how much support he has received from many different types of people all across Canada.
“They don’t even know me, I’m a complete stranger to them,” he said.
“But they see an injustice and they are outraged.”