March 5, 1997
Cross examination of defence witness Ernie Archie continued today at the ongoing Ts'peten (Gustafsen Lake) trial in Surrey, BC. The trial of 18 Shuswap traditionalists and supporters, arising out of the summer 1995 siege of sacred Sundance grounds by RCMP and Canadian military forces, is now the longest and costliest trial in Canadian history. Shuswap elder Wolverine has been imprisoned without bail since September 1995, before the trial began.
Archie was present in the Ts'peten camp until early August 1995. Crown prosecutor Lance Bernard attempted to lead the witness into testimony of defensive preparations by campers to resist an attack by area ranchers or the RCMP. He was also questioned as to persons and vehicles in the camp at that time.
Bernard's questioning was derailed however, when defence counsel George Wool questioned Archie as to his memory of events and his comprehension of the crown's questions. After Wool elicited conflicting answers to those given by Archie to the crown prosecutor, Archie indicated that his memory and comprehension were "almost gone" as a result of "serious abuse at the residential school," referring to the infamous institutions Canada imposed on indigenous children until the 1980's which were notorious for concentration-camp-like conditions.
Also today, BCTV's 6:00 PM news, featured the first of a two part interview with jailed native rights lawyer Dr. Bruce Clark. The second part will be broadcast on Thursday's newscast.
At one point Clark, in red prison clothing, told BCTV's Clem Chappel, that "you should be interviewing and asking questions or yourself and your media associates, as to why you allowed yourselves to take an ordinary person trying to make a point of law, and then demonized that person."
Denied the right to appear as counsel of choice for many of the defendants, Clark has been called by the traditionalists as a defence witness. Dr. Clark is expected to take the stand on Thursday.
Links to politicians' email and a more comprehensive list of addresses for protest letters are at:
http://kafka.uvic.ca/~vipirg/SISIS/gustlake/letter.htmlPlease send a copy of your letter to S.I.S.I.S. so the Defenders can know people are acting on their behalf.