OHSWEKEN – Imagine turning 16 years old, getting excited about taking your G1 Driver’s Licence test to finally experience a bit of freedom, only to be turned down by the clerk for having the wrong form of identification.
This is what happened to 16-year-old Brandon Styres Maker last week at a Driver’s Examination Centre in Brantford, Ont. Only he was turned away from taking the test because the clerk would not accept his status card or official long form birth certificate as proof of identification. Brandon came to Elected Council on Oct. 11 with his aunt Stephanie Styres to bring it council’s attention and ask for a complaint to be issued from the elected chief.
“The clerk looked at the status card and questioned whether Brandon signed the card himself,” said Styres. “She said we do not take this card, we only take identification issued from Ottawa with a hologram.”
The clerk then asked if Brandon had his passport on him and he said no, he was expecting his status card to be sufficient.
Styres then stepped in and told the clerk that Brandon’s status card is a Canadian certificate of Indian Status and that it is listed under the “acceptable forms of identification” sign posted by the counter.
Brandon then presented his birth certificate, which is also an official government issued form of I.D. and the clerk would still not accept it and let Brandon take the test because the clerk said it had a spelling error on the certificate.
“Why is the government handing out pieces of identification that are not accepted,” Styres said at the meeting.
Styres said that the clerk went to the supervisor and the supervisor said the I.D.s were indeed unacceptable.
“I pulled out other identification but nothing was good enough,” she said. Styres asked for the customer service department’s phone number so she could launch an official complaint and when she spoke to the service representative later they said that the documents they provided should have been accepted.
“I don’t get it,” said Styres.
After listening to Styres and Brandon, Elected Council decided that they would look into the incident further and get Elected Chief Ava Hill involved as she was out of town during the meeting.
Styres has put together a file comprised of information regarding the incident and photos of the centre and its employees who were on staff that afternoon that were a part of the incident.
“I’m OK with it [elected council’s decision],” said Styres. “I’m sending my PowerPoint presentation to MTO and the third party outsource contract holder that is responsible for the Driver Test Centre. I’m sending it everywhere.
“I think the more people that are aware of incidents like this — change will happen. I think we need to stand up for our First Nation youth at all cost,” she said.
Styres said that she is likely going to take Brandon to a centre in Simcoe to take his driver’s test.