25 August, 1995
For Immediate Release
An ad-hoc coalition of peace and justice groups will picket the Canadian embassy, 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C., Tuesday, August 29, 11:30 AM to protest the imminent armed attack by Canadian authorities on the Shuswap Nation Sundance at Gustafson Lake, B.C. The group will include Native American and other speakers.
According to Bruce Clark, Esq., lawyer for the Shuswap Nation Sundance, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have informed the media that they "intend to overcome resistance with force against my clients at Gustafsen Lake...unless...my clients capitulate unconditionally." The police have established an armed blockade, and cut off all communications with the Sundance.
The Shuswap Nation Sundance has been held for years annually at Gustafson Lake without incident until this summer when Lyle James a local ranch owner who claims to own Gustafsen Lake demanded that the Sundance leave. Following an attempted armed eviction by the ranch, the Sundancers have occupied the Sundance grounds for the past 2 months, refusing to leave the site which is located on unceded aboriginal land. The Shuswap Nation seek a peaceful solution to the crisis based on the "Royal Proclamation of 1763 which states Canadian lands 'not have been ceded to or purchased by us (the Crown), are reserved to them, or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds.'"
The Shuswap Nation Sundancers are determined to settle this disagreement non-violently if at all possible, despite repeated instances of armed violence and harassment directed against them, but have vowed to resist any effort on the part of the Canadian authorities to forcibly remove them from their sacred Sundance grounds. This is the latest in a series of attempts by the Canadian authorities to abrogate native rights.
According to Chief Billy Redwing Tayac, of the Piscataway Indian Nation, "how can the Sundancers be called 'squatters' when the land they are on is unceded territorial land? Peace and justice loving people everywhere should speak out loudly to protest this impending tragedy."