August 21, 1995
Once again the threat of invasion faces the camp at Gustafsen Lake as the RCMP starts to close in on them. On Friday, 11 August 1995, two of the boys from the camp, Ernie Archie and David Pena, were picked up on the Fraser River by fisheries officers for fishing on an "off day" (no fishing) for salmon for their families' winter food supply. David Pena, a diabetic, was forced to the ground and beaten after the officers found guns in his truck. During the struggle he suffered a seizure and was removed to the Williams Lake jail by ambulance. Neither of the boys was allowed to phone the camp to tell their worried families of their whereabouts. The family, on Sunday, August 13, after hearing no word decided to check at the RCMP in Williams Lake. they found the boys there; they had each been charged with sever counts. Ernie is restricted to house custody and David has been removed to maximum security in Prince George. On Saturday, 18 August 1995, at about 6:00 a.m., eight camouflaged, fully armed and unidentified men were happened upon by a member of the Sundance camp in the bush outside the fence. Thinking they might be red-neck vigilantes bent upon killing Indians, the Sundancers phoned the RCMP at abut 7:00 a.m. regarding these men. It was also later rumored these men might be a SWAT team from Kamloops. A red, white and blue helicopter flew over camp about 8:25 a.m. and about 9:00 a.m. a shot was heard from down by the Lake. At 10:00 a.m. a man in camouflage was seen up a tree and about 12:00 p.m. another man, similarly dressed, was seen crossing the road from camp. there was also a man in a boat on the lake with binoculars and a walkie-talkie. Calls to the RCMP on Saturday, from outside allies across the country, elicited denials of any of the above events although by Sunday they admitted that was their men in the area, there had been a helicopter, and a shot had been fired allegedly at one of their men. No Sundancer fired any shot at one of their men. It must be remembered that the RCMP have no jurisdiction here and they have acknowledged this position in their frequent visits to the camp over the last two months. Only one car at a time comes up to the camp, on the request of the Sundance people, they park outside the fence and they come in unarmed. The three officers, all native, routinely visit and have coffee. They have also asked for permission, from the camp, for the rancher, Lyle James, to transfer his cattle from one pasture to another, as the camp sits in the middle of the disputed range. The aforementioned visits from the RCMP have been cordial and a peaceful solution to the dispute has been sought. The rancher, Lyle James, has never been able to produce a deed to the land in question. If, in the future, he does produce one, the question remains: is it by collusion with the illegal, elected band council system of government? Mr. James accuses the Sundance people of "trespass" - the real "trespassers" here are Mr. James and the Indian Act collaborators.
The RCMP know they have no jurisdiction in this case; a fact which has been repeatedly pointed out to them by the attorney for Percy Rosette and David Pena, Dr. Bruce Clark. Dr. Clark says: "Since the non-native judges, lawyers and police historically led and presently excuse the illegal invasion of the Indians' yet unsurrendered territories, it is equally clear and plain that the request by the Petitioners (his clients) for access to an independent and impartial outside Tribunal is crucial....which in the Aboriginal rights context has already been ascertained to be the Queen in her Privy Council of the United Kingdom the paramount duty of the police is not to carry out orders, but, rather to uphold the rule of law. That point was resolved with finality by Canada's atornment to The Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948...the higher law that precludes the jurisdiction of the non-native courts and police goes on to say that the illegal assumption of jurisdiction by the courts and police constitutes treason, fraud, and complicity in genocide." Under Constitutional law the people on unceded and unsurrendered territory have the right to bear arms and to use force in resisting an invasion.
A documentary film is in progress covering the situation at Gustafsen Lake. Interviews with members of the camp recount the historical context of their position and how they perceive their position today. They know that their stand is just and, as Faith Keeper Percy Rosette confirms, his traditional people stand on the Great Law, the Cayanerekowa of the Iroquois Confederacy. This documentary includes footage of an interview with one of the visiting RCMP officers, a seventeen-year veteran of the force. On the assignment with the RCMP to research the legal issues brought up in the dispute he concedes that, yes, the Sundance people are correct in their stance and that genocide is indeed being perpetuated. This footage will be distributed shortly. The CBC has seen all of this documentary, in rough draft form, and want exclusive rights to the film. This will not be given until such time as a completely unbiased, fair, and honest account is given from the position of the Sundancers, as opposed to the slanderous, racist, inflammatory pictures and narrative with emphasis on warriors in camouflage clothing being called terrorists, is addressed. The legal and traditional native position must be discussed in its proper context and the scare and intimidation tactics used by the government and the media must be shown for what they really are - that being to manipulate the public into thinking they are under attack. Well, they are under attack alright but the Sundance people are not their real enemies.
DEFENDERS OF THE SHUSWAP (SECWEPEMC) NATION