Video images of what appears to be teenagers issuing racist and sexist slurs are being disributed on Snapchat and Facebook.
The heated online activity resulted in tighter safety measures at the Ponoka Secondary Campus on Friday.
A written statement from Wolf Creek Public Schools superintendent Jayson Lovell says, in part:
“We are aware of an incident that took place outside of school hours and off school property, but did involve Ponoka Secondary Campus students, and we are aware of social media in relation to that incident.
“The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. Such content and behaviour is disturbing and disheartening, and goes against all we do in Wolf Creek Public Schools in our efforts to support safe and caring schools, and work towards understanding among students.
In one video, youths appear to be drinking alcohol while in a vehicle.
In the blurry video, the vehicle occupants repeat racist slurs and profanities while Indigenous singing plays in the background and “Do something (vulgar term)” and “Maskwacis Four Nations Alberta” shows on the screen.
In another video, four youths are seen voicing racist comments and threats and using a derogatory term for a female.
One male goes as far as to threaten, “I’ll scalp you this time, how ‘bout that?”
At least one of the videos seems to have been posted by a male living in Ponoka, according to the name used to post the video and the Facebook profile of the same name.
Ermineskin Cree Nation Chief Craig Makinaw issued a strong statement denouncing the racist videos and urging community members to not seek retribution.
“This vulgar display of racism is indicative of a deeper issue in the country and in this province,” said Makinaw in the statement.
“The Ermineskin Cree Nation and the Nehiyawahk of Maskwacis have been subjected to this type of behaviour since contact. We are still here. We have been dealing with this type of behaviour for longer than Ponoka, Alberta and Canada were even an idea.
“In this fraught moment in history, I call upon the leaders of central Alberta reserves, municipalities and cities to condemn acts of racism and to educate themselves on the issues facing Indigenous people, including knowledge of the Treaties.”
Cpl. Dianna Fontaine of the RCMP K Division confirmed the Ponoka RCMP received a complaint about the videos at around midday Friday and the file is now under investigation.