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Natives show support for Mohawks

Daily Courier Staff
Kelowna Daily Courier
Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 12:01 AM

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

A small group of protesters held an "information" protest along Highway 97 in Westbank Tuesday, but they didn't rule out the possibility of shutting down the bridge in the future.

The natives were supporting members of the Mohawk Nation near Caledonia, Ont., who have occupied land planned for a housing development.

"There are going to be repercussions -- it could be a rough summer," said Pierre Kruger, a native from the Coast of B.C.

"If police enforce the theft of land, it might come to shutting down the (Okanagan Lake) bridge. If I had my way, that would have happened today. But that's up to the elders."

There were about a dozen protesters walking the sidewalk across Highway 97 from the Westbank First Nation office. Most of the protesters were from out of town.

Alex Louie, a native from Oliver who organized the protest, said most Indians don't support the elected chiefs and councils at Six Nations or the WFN.

"The grassroots peoples believe that the traditional people are in charge of making any decision on Okanagan land rights and sovereignty," he said. "The membership has been excluded from negotiations here (WFN self-government).

"What the (WFN) council and provincial and federal governments want has no bearing on what the people want.

"The grassroots people do not believe in the Canadian government's land selection process because aboriginal title exists throughout Okanagan territory."

WFN Chief Robert Louie said the protest was not approved by the Westbank band council.

"WFN supports the right of peaceful assembly, and although we sympathize with the Mohawk Nation and their plight, we have our own land issues to deal with here," he said.

Protester Ethan Baptiste, also from Oliver, said if Ontario police don't back down in their standoff with the Mohawks, it will have consequences across the country.

"Blockading the bridge may be extreme, but that's the kind of extreme measures that will be taken across the country," he said.

There were several non-natives on the protest line.

"I'm supporting them because I think they have much more respect for the land than our culture does," said Lynda Barrer of Kelowna.

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