Interview with Glen Deneault


- posted Tim Wees

[Glen Deneault interviewed by Will Thomas, witness for prosecution at Ts'peten trial; sometime between Aug 22-27, 1995 in a vehicle at the Gustafsen Lake Camp. The following constitutes about eight minutes of the video tape played to the court during the closing statement to the jury by Manuel Azevedo, on behalf of Mr. Deneault, on April 29, 1997.]

Mr. Denault: And I have the right to be because I'm a Shuswap man, and this is Shuswap territory. My -- my -- my duties don't come from no elected chiefs and council. They come from the Creator. He is the one who told us how to be Shuswaps. He put us on the land, and he said this is how Shuswap people live. And he gave us -- and he gave us teachings on how to praise him and how to -- and how to celebrate life. And that's -- and that's what this place is about, the sundancers celebrate life.

And the way he gave us was the scalia, the sweat, fast. And the sundance comes from some of our brothers down -- from down in the southern part of the states. This -- this ceremony involves both of ours -- this involves sweating, and it involves fasting. It involves both of our -- the two -- the two major components of our religion into it and -- (undiscernable) that's -- that's -- that's the way the dance is here. This dance is here for the Shuswap people. And for all of the Shuswap people too. Even the sell-out band councils and chiefs and all those people, even if they don't -- if they don't believe in the indian way anymore, we still pray for them.

We pray for them that they will get better. That they will -- will remember to be an indian again. They are going to have to start remembering soon because there, because there's not many of us indians left. Pretty soon they won't know. You're without your culture, you're not a person. We have -- we still have pretty good culture, if we believe in it enough. To lose our life for it if we have to. It's a way of life. It's the real way.

This way of life doesn't have any regard for any outside laws. We were living this way of life before these laws were made, before those people came over here, when it was just us and these real laws. We lived like that for thousands of years, and all of a sudden they just show up and push those aside? You know, so what. This is the new thing. These are the new laws.

Those laws never earned their validity over here. those aren't the morals from over here. They are way different from our values. And so different from us that it persecutes us.

Mr. Thomas: Here we are. Here the world is.

Mr. Deneault: We're not bothering the world out there. We are not --

Mr. Hincks: No, but this matter for the whole world. This is important. It's that big. It's that big. This little piece of land and these few people and it's as big as the world.

Mr. Deneault: There's no terrorists here. none of us are. Fuck. That's pretty strange that another society would make us challenge our own religion so soon after they just had a ceremony, a celebration of life. They would challenge that belief into putting us into a position where we might have to lose these bodies. We might have to lose this life that we are living right now. And we just celebrated life. We just celebrated. We just danced and sang for four days those people here without food and water to give back to this land. We just celebrated life here and now they are going to bring their instruments of war against us.

This is a real situation. They are lining the roads. Cops are down the roads; six cars up and down. SWAT teams are in motel rooms in town. M'hmmm.

We don't go in their church when they are praying or after they pray and desecrate it. Don't try to come in their church armed. You go try -- you go look at it and you won't find -- you won't find any crimes to do with indians bothering someone else's dead or their place of worship, and where your ancestors are resting is important.

You never see an indian make any shopping mall or golf courses over these white people's cemeteries. You never see an indian do that. Then there are some rather wealthy indians that are developers that are capable of buying land where they want, doing whatever they want, but still they respect -- they still respect themselves enough to respect somebody else's beliefs.

Mr. Thomas: Has your arbor been desecrated?

Mr. Deneault: Yeah, with cows always coming around.

Mr. Thomas: Through the arbor?

Mr. Deneault: Yeah.

Mr. Thomas: Cowhands?

Mr. Deneault: Yeah.

Mr. Thomas: How does that make you feel? I can't imagine that.

Mr. Deneault: Somebody coming invading your home. That makes you feel pretty bad.

Mr. Thomas: Yeah.

Mr. Deneault: Because there's a lot more to think about than what you see. You've got to look at it from our point of view: This land is ours. We fought a lot of wars to keep this land ours; Chilcotin, Okanangan, Lil'wat, Thompson. There's a reason why this land is ours. Because the Creator gave it to us and we defended it. If it wasn't for the way we lived our lives there wouldn't be no land now.

We wouldn't have no place.

Canada Speaking Freely - CANSPEAK

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