Jul 12/95: Gustafsen Lake-RCMP report


S.I.S.I.S. note: the following report was logged by RCMP Constable Findley. Cst. Findley and two other native officers were suddenly pulled from the Gustafsen Lake assignment shortly before a heavily armed ERT "covert probe" in camouflage clothing was "inserted" into the camp. Despite the research and reports of these and other officers on the Gustafsen camp and the issues of concern, RCMP Commander Superintendent Len Olfert told the media at a press conference on August 19 in Williams Lake: "No one can really determine what they want or just what the issues are. We kind of think they're fanatical and they're terrorists - and they seem to want to engage in war for some reason." Edmonton Sun, August 22/95.

We have not edited Cst. Findley's report in any way except to make a few minor formatting changes to make the document more readable via WWW.

Continuation Report / Rapport De Continuation
Date: July 12, 1995
Time/Heure: O730 - On shift and enroute to Dog Creek I.R.
                   [SISIS: I.R = Indian Reserve]
            O930 - At Dog Creek IR and again speaking to
                   Davies Archie, Band Manager

Gustafsen Lake Area History

Before Colonial times - hunting, fishing, berry picking. Trade route to Canim Lake, N. Thompson area.

1832 - BlackDome Intertribal Agreement: Area - 2,000 Square miles of territory. BlackDome mountain to east side of Green Lake

1864 - Douglas Reserve. Negotiated between Governor Douglas of Colony of BC and Canoe Creek and Dog Creek Indian Bands 300,000 acres as far southeast as Neilson Lake. (Approx. 3 km. east of Gustafsen Lake.)

Gustafsen Lake built by Louie Mtinmeshen or Louie Tinmusket as known by whites. Originally was hay meadow but dammed to help cultivate land and as fish source. Also to provide year round water supply to Dog Creek. Many natives lived year around in area. Some log cabins remaining in area today.

1865 Joseph Trutch - Lands and Works Commissioner for BC. Never attempted to understand Natives. Never learned the language. Believed natives were sub-human. Never learned their culture. Believed they were savages. Declared natives non-citizens. Passed ordinance that natives could not buy, sell, or pre-empt land. Down sized Reserves along with hi surveyor Peter O'Reilly, From 300,000 acres to 14,000 acres or 5% of the Douglas Treaty. [S.I.S.I.S. note: surveying was done by Douglas in anticipation of treating, which was the legal precondition of non-native jurisdiction.]

1870 - March 30th Excluded natives from partnership in Confederation - Joseph Trutch. The 14,000 acres reserved for natives is mostly non-arable land, ie rock cliffs, canyons, and steep hills. Trutch believed natives would be extinct due to the small pox epidemic of 1862 which did in fact wipe out 15 Shuswap bands from Soda Creek to Enderby.

1858 Whites move into area and start ranching after failing in gold rush. These whites live with and marry local native women. These whites would then purchase reserve lands from the Government. Also under Trutch the natives were given 10 acres per family. However a white could homestead 160 acres and his brother could homestead another 160 acres, etc. etc.

First owner of James Cattle Company Esidore Gaspard Versepeuche 1860-1885 Married Native woman-M'otla in 1871. Known as Gaspard Ranch. The ranch was then bought and sold several times. Frank Armes sold ranch to Lyle James but told the natives he had seen surveyor markers at Gustafsen Lake marked Indian Reserve.

1920s - 40s Natives were not allowed to sell or buy agricultural goods off reserve. Had approximately 500 head of cattle but had to downsize because of no land.

Natives were urged to sell reserve land if they were in dire straits by the government agents of the day.

Throw in Alcohol, and Residential Schools and it ain't hard to understand the loss of land and family break down of the Native people.

S. U. I.

[S.I.S.I.S. note: a page is missing, but indications are Cst. Findley went to Gustafsen Sundance Camp. Cst. Findley told the camp of his historical research and his intention to submit this to his superiors. When asked what the significance of the research was he replied "It's a big rip-off. It's genocide." This was recorded surreptitiously by the Sundancers on video-tape.]

1430 Depart area

It should be noted that writer established a good rapport with these Sundancers and I believe some trust. Writer was given some berries and coffee prior to departing and the men at the fire shook hands with writer when leaving.

Four eagles were seen to circle the arbor area and the Sundancers believed this was a good omen. This occurred while writer was shaking hands and leaving.

G Findley

July 13, 1995 - Cst. Findley's notes from Gustafsen (Big) Lake reviewed - A lot of research on file about the land & its history. File to S/Sgt Wendel for review - L Y/A/Ops

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