(Courtesy Patty Stacey)
On Tuesday, Patty Stacey and one of her friends from out of town decided to go shopping at the Giant Tiger in St. Remi.
The two women were having a pleasant time while shopping in the store when things took an uncomfortable turn.
“I had a few items that I wanted to purchase, and so when we got to the counter, I gave her (the cashier) my tax card. She then took out this white piece of paper, handwritten with scribbling on it that said that they don’t take our tax card,” said Stacey.
“Unfortunately, since the federal government doesn’t accept St. Remi in the territory, we can’t accept the cards anymore. If you have a problem with that, please contact with (sic) the government and (illegible word) for details,” read the piece of paper.
At the top of the piece of paper, a message was written in French. It read:
“What to answer to English-speaking Indigenous peoples regarding their cards.”
“There was a woman right behind me and a couple of other customers, and they were laughing. The cashier only spoke French,” said Stacey.
“I told my friend ‘just leave everything here. I am not taking it because they don’t take my tax card,’” she said.
Stacey said that her friend then got into a back and forth with the cashier and according to Stacey, asked the cashier to be more respectful.
The other people in line continued to laugh while the cashier was telling them something in French, said Stacey.
“We came out of the store, and we went to my car, and my friend opened my car door for me. The same woman that was behind me laughing in line came out as well. There was a parked car right next to mine with a man inside.
“All of a sudden, that same woman came around to get into that parked car, but before she grabbed my car door and slammed it shut. They sped off very quickly.”
Stacey tried to take a picture of the woman and the plate but was unable to.
The Eastern Door contacted the store and spoke to the manager, Manon Donais.
“We ask our clients from Kahnawake to talk to their band council regarding this issue as St. Remi is not part of the territory that accepts tax cards. We get a lot of heat from customers, but it is not because we don’t want to accept it. It is because we can’t. We don’t get a reimbursement from the government.” said Donais.
When The Eastern Door asked Donais about Stacey’s unpleasant experience at the store and the possibility that it could have been discriminatory or racially motivated, she said:
“Most of my girls don’t speak English. So we wrote a message on a piece of paper to properly inform clients, but oftentimes it is met with shock and anger. We wanted to make sure that clients would get the proper information.”
Donais has been working at Giant Tiger St. Remi for 27 years and said that many of the regulars are from Kahnawake and that it was her pleasure to serve them.
Donais said that from what she has witnessed and experienced throughout the years, clients from Kahnawake are respected and liked in the store.
As per the information on the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake St. Remi is not on the list of towns that accept band cards.