Akwesasne Elders welcomed back at Walmart

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By Nick Seebruch
Akwesasne Elders welcomed back at Walmart
Elders, Grand Chief Abram Benedict, and other members of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne are greeted by the manager of Walmart's Cornwall location on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. Submitted photo.

This story has been updated with a comment from Walmart Canada.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Elders from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) were welcomed back to Cornwall’s Walmart on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.

The Elders had boycotted the store after an incident in mid-July.

During the incident, that was reported in other media on July 12, the Elders had been the target of derogatory remarks from passers-by while their van was parked in front of the store.

The MCA facility bus that transported the Elders from their residents in Akwesasne to Walmart on that day had had difficulties in dropping off the Elders with their wheelchair lift in the designated area at the front of the store due to there being vehicles in the way.

Once they got into the spot, according to MCA Grand Chief Abram Benedict, they were told by an employee of Walmart that they could not park or drop off their clients there and to move along. It was at this point that the Elders became targets of profanity by members of the public passing by.

“After that experience, the Elders were quite upset about that and so were the staff and they hadn’t been back to this Walmart here in Cornwall since then,” Benedict said. “Today, all of our members of Council greeted our Elders here at Walmart, they were also greeted by the Manager who extended his apologies to the Elders and to the staff for the incident that occurred about six weeks ago here at Walmart and has committed that they have taken measures to ensure those incidents don’t happen again with staff and vehicles parking there and that they treat all visitors of Walmart with respect.”

Benedict explained that the outing to Walmart was a regular occurrence for the Elders and that their care facility had reached out to the MCA to help facilitate their return.

We’re very glad the Elders are continuing to choose Walmart,” said Felicia Fefer, Manager of Corporate Affairs with Walmart Canada Corp. “Our store manager was there this morning to greet them with open arms and welcome them to the store. Respect is a core value at Walmart Canada and we are proud to reflect the communities we serve through our diverse customers and associates.”

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