Mayor Lorraine Michetti refusing to step down amid calls for her resignation. (Submitted)

Mayor Lorraine Michetti refusing to step down amid calls for her resignation. (Submitted)

Rural B.C. mayor urged to resign after Facebook post against Indigenous people, pipelines

The mayor is refusing to quit, saying the post was taken out of context

A rural B.C. mayor is being bombarded with calls to resign, following a Facebook post that’s being called racist against Indigenous people.

Lorraine Michetti, mayor of Pouce Coupe, a small village in northeast B.C. near the Alberta border, posted photos of garbage-strewn lawns with the comment, “Don’t want Pipeline’s? They want to protect our land. Yeah ok.”

Council reacted quickly, voting to remove Michetti of her mayoral duties, though it lacks the legal power to remove her from office.

Michetti is refusing to step down, saying the post was taken out of context and misunderstood.

Her initial response was to share an apology letter, saying she understood the photo was a “grave mischaracterization of who the First Nation and Metis people are and for that I apologize.”

Michetti told Black Press Media the image was actually a few years old, and she realized at the time it was inappropriate and removed it. But last week, someone sent her a screenshot of the old post, in a way the mayor interpreted as blackmail. Rather than waiting for that person to share it, Michetti posted it herself, she said.

It caught the attention of local Indigenous peoples, who were offended.

Tammy Lee Watson is a former councillor for the Saulteau First Nation, who also used to work as an Indigenous advisor to the provincial government.

“In all the years I had been involved in politics, we had developed a First Nations competency program to help governments and other people get close to understanding our differences, and really helping people understand the definition of racism,” she said.

“We have many people who claim, ‘I’m not racist, I’ve lived with First Nations people my whole life,’ but then they can still make statements like that.”

Michetti agreed to attend a cultural awareness program, which can be a good first step, Watson said, but added, “You don’t get to have a certificate and say, ‘I’m not racist anymore.’ You need to spend time with people in the community, travel to the reservations and take a good look at how her information is misconstrued. For one, the nations here haven’t protested a pipeline.”

Watson wants to see Michetti apologize publicly, admit the comment was racist, and make a real commitment to visit the communities.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


municipal politicsracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Demonstrators lined Hwy 16 May 5 to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Deb Meissner photo)
VIDEO: Smithers gathering marks Red Dress Day honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Approximately 70 people lined Hwy 16, drumming, singing and holding up placards

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

The road to Telegraph Creek (Hwy 51) was closed April 15 due to a washout. On May 4, the road was opened to light-duty passenger vehicles during specific times. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure/Facebook)
Telegraph Creek Road opens for light-duty vehicles

Road has been closed since April 15 due to a washout

Gitxsan Nation extends fishing ban for non-Indigenous permit holders indefinitely . (Photo courtesy, Travis Murphy)
Gitxsan Nation extends ban for non-Indigenous fishing permit holders across their territory

The move comes after the province backed away from ongoing discussions with Gitxsan chiefs and DFO

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read