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Clan mothers seek UN's help

Doreen Silversmith says 'genocidal practices' of Canada must stop

Marissa Nelson
Hamilton Spectator
May 3, 2006

[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.]

The plight of the Six Nations protesters found an international audience this week as their battle was described by one of their own for a United Nations committee in Geneva, Switzerland.

Wearing a traditional ribbon shirt, Doreen Silversmith, 49, said she felt the protection of spirits as she delivered a message from the Six Nations' clan mothers on Monday.

Silversmith said in a telephone interview from Switzerland she told the committee about the police raid and about their dispute with Canada.

She is asking the international community to mediate the talks between the Six Nations and the federal government.

"We are the true sovereign and we're asking our friends and allies to intervene in this situation," Silversmith said, as she read the clan mothers' statement over the phone. "We need support on an international level to have someone who has no interest in the outcome to act as mediator to oversee the negotiations and discussions that are taking place."

Silversmith told the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that the natives hope to gain the support, understanding and respect of the international committee.

She told them her people are "in a serious and volatile situation brought on by the irresponsible and genocidal practices of the corporation you call Canada.

"The OPP underestimated our resolve to peacefully maintain the hold of our land. The attack by the OPP, in what they say was in accordance with a provincial court injunction, resulted in 16 people being held hostage," she said, noting people were pepper sprayed and shot with Taser guns during the April 20 raid.

"Women were beaten and an older man was thrown to the ground for trying to peacefully talk to them."

She told the group the disputed land has been tied up for more than 20 years in Canada's land claims system -- a problem she blamed on the elected band council, "an arm of the federal government."

"It is not a lawful government nor is it a system the traditional people can support or has a voice in.

"This is the same land which Henco Industries has been allowed to clear, build roads and begin construction of several homes."

That construction has gone on regardless of Six Nations historic opposition, she noted.

Silversmith will spend the rest of the week lobbying each member of the committee separately for their support.

She also delivered a message of a second group called the Feminist Organization for Women's Advancement, Rights and Dignity, or FORWARD, that helps homeless, poor and isolated women -- a battle Silversmith sees as coinciding with the battles in Caledonia.

"I really slammed Canada. We said she was a sham. People think of Canada as a place of freedom and righteousness, but that's not the way it is," she said.

Silversmith, whose nephew was shot by a Taser during the police raid, said before she left she went to the barricade and talked with clan mothers.

"They just said this is the truth and you must deliver it.

"The truth must be delivered. You must deliver it and make them hear," Silversmith said.

"I think I did that -- they really listened and heard."

Silversmith flies home on Saturday and expects to be back at the barricade on Sunday or Monday.

"The year is 2006. I guess they figured it was time to pick on the Six Nations again," she said, laughing.

"I really wish they could walk down the streets of our soul without throwing garbage and deceit, and really see the pain and suffering of our people."

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