Several months ago, a St. Albert family received a racist letter and now, an Indigenous family living in Leduc received a similarly-worded one.
An Indigenous family living in a community south of Edmonton received a startling anonymous letter on New Year’s Day.
While the typed out and printed letter began with “Happy New Year!” it included racist sentiments like, “If you cannot take care of your property then go back to the Indian reservation where it is accepted.”
Mishel Assiniboine has lived with her family in Leduc, Alta., for 20 years. She has three children and it was her five-year-old son who found the letter rolled up in their railing.
“He brought it to me and I read it and I was shocked,” Assiniboine said.
“At first, it made me feel excluded and like I didn’t belong there,” she said. “But when I posted it [online], I had friends and people call me and text me, people who know me. The Facebook page I posted it on, they were really supportive. There were no negative comments.
“It just makes me realize that it does happen. It happens everywhere; not just in St. Albert, not just in Leduc. It happens everywhere.”
Part of the letter reads:
“To the very unwanted and hated neighbours in Corinthia Park… We do not like your kind around here. You are ruining the neighbourhood.
“There are too many people living in one house. We see in your house and you portray an Indian lifestyle. This is not accepted here.
“Move out. Move out. We gave you land and you need to respect the generosity. St. Albert got rid of their Indians and so can we.”
The two-page letter is signed “Your friendly neighbours.”
In October, another family received a similar letter at their St. Albert condo. That letter was also addressed to “very unwanted and hated neighbours” and said it was from “your friendly Phase 2 neighbours.”
“I feel like they felt they could do it because it was done already,” Assiniboine said, referencing the St. Albert letter. “It’s almost word for word what the other person said… I kind of feel like it’s funny too because they couldn’t come up with their own words, they couldn’t come up with their own racial comments, they had to pull from someone else and plagiarize their letter.”
Assiniboine said she won’t be moving.
“I’ve always liked Leduc. We’ve always had a good experience with the schools and programs,” she said. “We’ve had some vandalism around the house. We’ve had things happen to our house, our vehicles… We’ve had dozens and thousands of complaints on our property.
“We just blew it off as something that happens in the city, not a racial thing.”
Assiniboine has filed a complaint with the RCMP.
“Be nice to your neighbours,” she said. “Be aware that other people have feelings too. We’re all different in some way but we’re all the same. It’s sad that this happens.”
The deputy mayor of Leduc slammed the letter.
“On behalf of Leduc City Council and city administration, I want to express our deep disappointment that a letter like this has been sent to an Indigenous family in our community,” Bill Hamilton said in a statement Wednesday.
“This letter does not represent the spirit of our community, which is one of diversity and inclusion.
“Our city prides itself on being a caring community that is welcoming and supportive of every person in the community — no matter age, sexual orientation or ethnic background. We do not tolerate any kind of hateful behaviour.”
Hamilton said the city is working with the RCMP to investigate the letter and make sure the family is safe.
“The City of Leduc will be reaching out to the family through our Family and Community Support Services to provide any resources the family may find beneficial. It is important to us that this family feels accepted and supported in our community,” Hamilton said.