[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]
Kelowna - The Westbank First Nation wants to evict youth protesters from their reserve land after band offices were occupied by young natives fed up with treaty negotiations. Band member and Native Youth Movement leader Rose Caldwell was served with a notice Friday, asking that "identified trespassers be requested to leave." Caldwell and about 40 other young protesters occupied the band office for two days last month. "I'll be damned if I'm going anywhere," and angry Caldwell said Saturday. "I will fight to my death before they take me away from here."
Caldwell hasn't yet been listed as an "identified" trespasser. Nor has anyone else. Tim Raybould, the band's policy adviser, explained that the order is a rarely used provision of the Indian Act. Police have agreed to enforce it, but first Caldwell had to be served notice of the order. If the protesters don't leave reserve lands, a list of trespassers will be drawn up and enforced. "It's unlikely that it [the list] would include band members [like Caldwell]," Raybould said. "The concern is the people from outside the community." Caldwell, in response, has put up signs around her property and sent letters to the RCMP saying they are not welcome on her land.
"It's going to take a court order [before police can go on the property]", Caldwell said. "I imagine we're going to play the court dance on Monday." The order was passed by the band council in response to complaints from band members about the activities of the young protesters. Up to 25 protesters have been staying at Caldwell's home. There have been allegations of intimidation and vandalism by the youths, but no related charges. Caldwell insisted that the youths have done nothing wrong. "We're not doing anything," she said. "Maybe, if we went out and got drunk and tore up the neighbourhood, maybe they would accept us then because that's what happens here on Friday and Saturday nights."
Twenty-two protesters, including Caldwell, were charged with criminal contempt of court for the occupation that was staged as a protest against the band's treaty negotiation efforts.
Westbank Band Council
Phone (250) 769-4999
Fax (250) 769-4377
Kelowna RCMP detachment
Phone (250) 762-3300
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