Aug 20/95: Gustafsen Lake-Police set to move in


Squatters at ranch have shot at Mountie, threatened fisheries officers

Victoria Times-Colonist
August 20, 1995
Canadian Press

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. It may contain biased and distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context.]

WILLIAMS LAKE -- The RCMP warned Saturday it is ready to move in and disperse a radical group of heavily armed natives they say has been engaging in acts of terrorism this summer.

A small group of natives squatting illegally on a private ranch about 90 kilometres southwest of this Cariboo community have shot at a Mountie and threatened Department of Fisheries enforcement officers, a senior RCMP officer told a news conference.

Police have seized several weapons, including a semi-automatic pistol and a military-style assault rifle.

One of the native group -- which calls itself the Sundancers -- said they would resist any police action on what the group considers sacred ground.

"It's an act of war," Glenn Deneault told reporters who visited their camp Saturday.

"How would you feel?"

The disputed land near Gustafson Lake is on the James Cattle Co. ranch which for years has allowed natives to use the site for summer sundance ceremonies.

Insp. Len Olfert of the Kamloops RCMP subdivision would not be specific when asked when and what action police would take.

"We certainly won't sit back because the threats have been made," he said. "We have a job to do and we have the security of all the residents in the area to consider.

"With the incidents of shooting that have taken place, ultimately the area will have to be secured and hopefully they will reconsider their position and leave."

Police have seized an AK-47 assault rifle, a loaded nine-millimetre semi-automatic pistol as well as another rifle, martial arts weapons, garotte, a weapon used to strange, two machetes and an axe.

In one of the latest incidents, two fisheries officers found two heavily armed natives beside the Fraser River on August 11.

One of the pair became agitated and reached for a weapon, causing the officers to pull their guns, police said.

Charged with 11 weapons offences are Samuel David Pena, 22, of 100 Mile House and Ernest Archie, 43, of Sugar Cane Reserve.

After that incident, a RCMP patrol went into the area and came across a young native in battle dress, police said.

Within seconds of the encounter, the native fired a shot at an officer with the bullet narrowly missing his head. The native fled into the woods.

In June, B.C. Forest Service workers were ordered to keep clear of the area after two were shot at.

Ranch owner Lyle James said he served eviction notice on the group June 13 and the trouble started.

Local Indian leaders condemned the rebel group.

Bill Chelsea of the Cariboo tribal council said the group is trying to get attention. If that doesn't work, they'll probably move on because they are considered renegades, he said.

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