Zach Running Coyote, from Rosebud, is seen in this undated handout photo. A Red Deer McDonald’s restaurant is reaching out to Running Coyote to tell him he’s welcome there after he was ordered to leave following an alleged racist and profanity-laced encounter with another customer. Photo by Josh Hall, rdnewsNOW

Speaking out against racism is worth some flak, says young actor in Red Deer

Zach Running Coyote is overwhelmed by reactions to his viral video

An Indigenous man who made a viral video about his encounter with an allegedly racist customer at a Red Deer McDonald’s outlet is getting a lot of attention.

Maybe too much attention, admitted Zach Running Coyote, who has appeared in media interviews aired around the country and the world.

The 22-year-old has been overwhelmed by messages of support, as well as strangers wanting to be Facebook friends with him.

But for every 20-plus positive messages Running Coyote has received, he said he has also fielded aggressive, angry and hurtful internet comments.

Some of these are further racist tirades — either generalized accusations, or blatant misconceptions, about Canada’s native population.

Others are personal slams, accusing Running Coyote of making up the whole McDonald’s incident, or being a media monger seeking publicity, or even being a fake or non-existent person.

“I am real,” says the actor from Rosebud, who’s been in Red Deer for the last three weeks rehearsing to appear in Bard on Bower Shakespearean productions.

Despite all the unwanted flak and attention, Running Coyote says he doesn’t regret speaking out — because he can. “I’m alive and not everybody (who goes through) these situations are still alive… This person spoke about killing people…”

His video recounts an exchange that happened after a black-hatted man in the Gaetz Avenue South restaurant celebrated that charges were dropped against an Alberta rancher who has shot a trespasser in the arm on his Okotoks property. When Running Coyote shook his head about this, the man came over to tell him to mind his “f—-ing business,” and allegedly called him a “f—-ing Indian,” among other things.


Man recounts racist encounter

Running Coyote stresses that he doesn’t have time for hateful people — either those who act on their racist instincts in real life, or who hide behind internet anonymity to lash out at minorities on Facebook.

By making the video, Running Coyote says he hoped to help make racists — primarily those in Red Deer — “stop and think before they speak.”

Although he admits to living a sheltered childhood — he was home-schooled by his adoptive white parents in various small communities in Alberta and B.C. — Running Coyote said he has felt more uncomfortable while visiting Red Deer these past few weeks than while living in smaller rural communities.

No other local incident was as blatant as the alleged one recounted on video, but he says pickup truck drivers have stared at him aggressively, even sticking their heads out of their vehicle windows as they drive by. Some have shaken their heads, he says, particularly when he was wearing his long hair in two braids.

It’s made him fearful of riding his bike at night.

Since none of his non-native Red Deer friends have experienced these reactions, he concludes they happen because of his native appearance.

However, among the positives that came out of Running Coyote’s video is an invitation for him to speak at an anti-racism event this summer in Edmonton.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

You can’t always know where life will lead, says formerly homeless single mom

Red Deer woman can’t get a job because she can’t afford child care

Red Deerians arrested after truck was stolen in Rimbey

Both will appear in Red Deer court on May 24

RCMP investigate incident in Innisfail

RCMP are still investigating a serious incident that happened at a downtown… Continue reading

Disappearance of woman, toddler treated as potential homicides: Calgary police

Calgary police say they are treating the disappearance of a woman and… Continue reading

Several Red Deer businesses’ phone/fax lines taken over by ‘spoofers’

Same ‘prank’ calls were made as happened with RedCliff RCMP

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps voice concerns about MLS travel woes

VANCOUVER — Concerns are being raised about how Major League Soccer handles… Continue reading

Canada looks to defend para-hockey title at world championship in Czech Republic

Canada forward Dominic Cozzolino keeps his 2018 Paralympic silver medal tucked away… Continue reading

John Singleton of ‘Boys N the Hood’ in coma after stroke

LOS ANGELES — “Boyz N the Hood” director John Singleton is in… Continue reading

400-year-old Bible stolen from US is found in Netherlands

PITTSBURGH — A 400-year-old Bible stolen from a Pittsburgh library has been… Continue reading

Opinion: Schools can’t be exempt from scrutiny

This weekend’s meeting of the Alberta School Councils’ Association promises to be… Continue reading

Local Sports: Clayton Pottinger reaching for new heights

There are times in anyone’s life when they make a decision that… Continue reading

Seniors: Smarter living for older adults

One of the major life transitions characteristic of aging is leaving one’s… Continue reading

Most Read