Racist gestures made at high school hockey games in Sudbury

Players on a Manitoulin Secondary School hockey team say they experienced two separate racist taunts recently made by both fans and players from MacDonald-Cartier school in Sudbury.

Jorja Peltier is in Grade 11 at Manitoulin Secondary School. She has been a part of the Manitoulin Secondary School Mustangs girl's hockey team since Grade 9.

Peltier said during a game at the Garson Arena in Sudbury, Mustangs players witnessed racist gestures being made by people in the stands.

"It was at the end of the second period," she said.

"I was on the bench that game and I happened to look over and I see this McDonald-Cartier student doing what you would call an 'Indian war-cry' gesture, like what you see in the Hollywood movies."

She didn't want to believe it at first.

"So I just looked away, but then I noticed my coaches and manager looking and that’s when I knew for sure what it was," Peltier said.

The student making the gesture was removed shortly afterward.

A second incident occurred two weeks later at a playoff game in Little Current.

"The final buzzer just went and then, under the normal cheering I heard the war cry sound again," Peltier said.

"It was well hidden but there were players on the team doing it as well as students in the stands."

Peltier said she was devastated after both incidents and said it affected her on several levels.

"You just feel so powerless and so awful that someone would just mock your culture like that," she said.

"I hate how much it affected me because that was my last hockey game ... that was how our high school season ended … It really ruined the end of my hockey season and it was a really good year."

The French public school board said it sent Peltier an apology.

"The persons involved understand the gravity of their actions. Necessary action has been taken to ensure this situation no longer presents itself," said Carol Dubé, the communications director for Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario, in a statement to CTV News.

Peltier said she is glad action has been taken and hopes no one else has to deal with a similar situation.

The school board said compulsory sessions on cultural sensitivity would be implemented in all of its schools.