Mr. James of James Cattle Co., then proceeded to occupy these sacred grounds, and sent several men to film and photograph the land, structures and artifacts. They also filmed and violated the sacred fast of one of our Sundance Singers. We were unable to protest as were only four men and rifles were seen in the rear windows of the trucks.
At approximately 3:00 p.m., five of Mr. James' men advised us they were 'reclaiming' a wood stove from our cookhouse. They removed the door to the house as well. We were again unable to protest.
Upon Mr. Rosette's return, at approximately 7:00 p.m., Mr. James again attempted to serve his illegal notice. Mr. Rosette refused to accept this illegal notice, so Mr. James had one of his men place it on a Sacred Staff. This second notice was again appropriated by the above-mentioned outside party. The James Cattle Co., owners of approximately 2000 head of cattle, initiated the aforementioned incidents n response to signs posted to discourage trespassers on Indian land and a fence that had been reinforced by the natives to keep the cattle off the Sacred Grounds.
Mr. James claims to have deeds to these lands, issued by the Department of Indian Affairs (DIA), yet has failed to produce any documentation, only shows of force.
A public forum was held at the Williams Lake Indian Long house on 9- 10 October, 1993 in order to discuss how this issue affected the annual Sundance. Mr. Lyle James, the RCMP, the Minister of Indian Affairs, and the concerned media were all invited. Instead of attending, the concerned parties held a meeting among themselves, came to a decision and signed an agreement regarding these issues, and sent a letter on RCMP letterhead, dated 16 September 1993, informing Mr. Rosette that a decision had been agreed upon without his involvement. This decision was never verified by any parties. It is speculated that Mr. James is involved in criminal activities with the Federal Government involving illegal land brokerage. On 15 June 1995, a group appointed themselves as mediators, without Mr. Rosette's consent, and spoke with Mr. James and then brought word to us that we should ask to meet with him. They also informed us that threats were voiced, specifically in regard to having us physically removed by 17 June 1995. This group then left the grounds, failing to make contact with Mr. Rosette.
The most recent incident took place at 6:00 p.m. on 16 June 1995 when a lone ranch hand came into the Sundance grounds, yelling and whooping in a drunken stupor. He was confronted by the men of the camp and when asked what he was doing in Shuswap territory, he stated emphatically that the ranchers intended to burn the council lodge and that the RCMP were planning an invasion of the camp. Given the prevailing mood of violence against the Defenders of the Land and Sacred Sundance ceremonies, we are declaring that force will be met with resistant force. Our demands for a Peaceful resolution are as follows:
1) That an investigation of the Governor General's Office in Ottawa be undertaken to expose the illegal leasing and/or selling of Native lands on unceded territory.
2) That an investigation into the DIA and all cohorts in the various band councils be undertaken to expose illegal leasing and/or selling of Native lands.
3) That an audience with Queen of England and the Privy Council be convened to renew the treaty obligations of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which states that all unceded territories will remain unmolested and undisturbed. (See Appendix Two for Proclamation and other relevant constitutional matters.)
4) That every individual reading this urgent Press Release is asked to call the RCMP at (604) 395 2456 and express their concern over the potential for violence against the occupants of the Sundance grounds in Shuswap territory. We invite all Sundancers to come to Gustafson Lake and ensure that this Sundance will be held as planned to sustain our inheritance and religious freedom. Donations of food, camouflage clothing, radio and communications equipment, camping gear, etc. are welcome and appreciated.
RELIGIOUS RIGHTS, LAND RIGHTS, WATER RIGHTS, FISHING RIGHTS, HUNTING RIGHTS - This is what we stand for.
The Defenders of the Shuswap Nation
A meeting was called on 17/6/95 by the Dog Creek, Canoe Creek, Canim Lake and Alkali Lake Bands to allegedly discuss the means by which to resolve the conflict of the Gustafson Lake Resistance crises. Two chiefs, seven band members, five people of the James Cattle Co. were escorted by the law enforcement agency of the 100 Mile House area; whereupon the Defenders of the Gustafson Lake Sacred Grounds instructed the agency, the RCMP, that they would only be admitted as observers if they came in unarmed, which they respected. The daughter of Lyle James, the rancher, attended the meeting as his representative and expressed the concern that the law had been broken by the Sundance people. The Defenders agreed with the fact that the law had been broken but only in regard to the to the James Cattle Co. who is illegally squatting within unceded Shuswap territory. The Defenders further advised each and every representative of the Federal Government that they were illegally enforcing the position of the rancher who has not produced a valid deed to the land.
It was also stated that if he did produce a document claiming ownership , it would be considered fraudulent, null and void as this territory has never been ceded to any Federal, provincial or private entity. when asked for a solution to the conflict, the Defenders asserted that sovereignty was non negotiable, but if an attempt at reaching some understanding were made they would consider calling for a joint investigation of the Department of Indian Affairs (DIA), the governor General and his agents concerning the illegal sale and/or lease of unceded lands.
The meeting lasted for four hours, at the end of which time no resolution was reached. The Defenders continue to maintain a defensive posture within the sacred Sundance Ceremonial Grounds and are working to ensure that the Sundance Purification commence on July 2nd through to July 5th, followed by the Sundance on the 6th- 9th, and the Spirit Dance on the 10th-12th.
It is our belief that the presence of the ancestral powers on this land will ensure that our struggle will be victorious. Bodies and resources are still welcome and appreciated.