[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only. It may contain biased and distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context.]
GUSTAFSEN LAKE - The RCMP declared war yesterday on a heavily armed band of natives they say are terrorists.
The last straw was a shot fired at a Mountie as he scouted the natives' camp on Friday - the latest in a string of shootings.
"This can't go on forever," said Supt. Len Olfert.
"We won't just sit back and do nothing. We have all the residents to consider, and the area has to be secured. There has been an escalation; the threat is serious. We see this as an act of terrorism."
"They don't seem interested in talking to us. So now we have to consider our options."
Olfert would not say whether tactical units were already in place or how many Mounties or what equipment, such as helicopters, would be used. And he wouldn't say when the cops will move in.
The defiant natives have told the Mounties they'll shoot down helicopters that fly over the camp.
Police say the militants - a group ranging between five and 15 who patrol in masks and combat fatigues - are heavily armed. Police seized a small arsenal from two of the militants caught illegally fishing on Aug. 11. It included a smuggled AK-47 assault rifle and a semi-automatic Glock pistol with Black Talon hollow-tipped bullets.
Also seized were a Remington 222 hunting rifle with a variable scope, several knives and machetes, bear spray, a steel tomahawk, numerous illegal ammunition clips, nunchuk sticks and a garrotte - piano wire strung between wooden handles.
The natives set up the camp on Lyle James's ranch at Gustafsen Lake, about 90 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, for their sundance festival.
But James ordered the natives off after a series of run-ins, and bullets have been the only reply.
There were five men and four women at the camp, which is deep in the bush, yesterday. They were flying the Mohawk, B.C. and United Nations flags.
Percy Rosette, leader of the group, which includes at least two Mohawks from Oka, Que., and some U.S. natives, said they're on sacred ground and they're not budging.
"If someone came sneaking into your house with a SWAT team, what would you do?" Rosette asked.
"You'd have to defend yourself. This lake, and all this land, belongs to the Indian people."
Said militant Glen Denault: "Do we go into your church and pick a fight? The RCMP is out of their jurisdiction. If they come in here armed, it's an act of war.
New Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh said: "We fully support the RCMP. There is one law for all people in Canada."
Samuel Pena and Ernest Archie are charged with weapons and fishing offences.