May 25/98: Tensions rise as natives vow to log

TENSIONS RISE AS NATIVES VOW TO LOG N.B. WOODS

SOME NATIVE INDIANS CLAIM MOHAWK WARRIORS WILL BE CALLED IN TO ESCORT THEIR TRUCKS OUT OF THE FORESTS

Vancouver Sun
May 25, 1998, p. A7
Canadian Press

[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.]

Fredericton - Aboriginal loggers were expected back in the New Brunswick woods today, raising tensions and the likelihood of more government crackdowns. Robert Levi, chief of the Big Cove reserve north of Moncton, said natives will resume cutting trees on Crown land, continuing their defiance of a court ruling that took away their rights to the timber. "I feel they're [the government] going to crack down more because our loggers aren't coming out," Levi said Sunday. "If they're going to charge us, let them charge us."

Despite the seizures of trucks, equipment and felled timber, Levi told 70 woodcutters to continue cutting this week. The woods were quiet over the weekend, when few loggers ventured out because of bad weather. Louella Woods, a spokeswoman for the department of natural resources, said Sunday that provincial officials will decide today how to respond to continued cutting. The province so far hasn't formally charged any aboriginal loggers with violating the court order but did charge one non-native truck driver with transporting wood cut on Crown land. Levi said he thinks the government isn't pressing charges against aboriginals so it can avoid getting involved in another court battle.

Foresters seized five trucks Thursday that belonged to non-natives and were hauling illegally cut timber. It is feared the dispute could intensify, since some aboriginals have suggested they will use escorted convoys to get their logs out of the woods. Levi said members of the Mohawk Warriors could be called on to accompany the trucks. Aboriginals are planning to appeal the court ruling that overturned a lower court decision that earlier granted them logging rights on Crown land.


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