Jul 19/95: Gustafsen Lake-Defenders' press release



July 19, 1995

Defenders of Sovereign unceded Shuswap territory containing sacred Sundance Grounds and Burial Sites at Gustafson Lake, 35 km. west of 100 Mile House, continue preparations to resist an invasion of the RCMP.

Unconfirmed media reports suggest RCMP have plans to remove natives deemed to be 'trespassing' on 'private land' owned by the James Cattle Co. On June 13, 1995, approximately a dozen ranchers in pickup trucks armed with rifles and led by James Cattle Co.'s Lyle James, violently disrupted the traditional Sundance preparations, invaded and desecrated the Council Lodge, photographed Sacred Sites and violated the purification ritual fast of a Sundancer.

A hand-made 'Final Eviction Notice' addressed to Shuswap Faith Keeper and Pipe Carrier Percy Rosette, was then stuck on a Sacred Staff.

On June 16, another provocation occurred when a drunk ranch hand on horseback entered the grounds, with threats that ranchers were going to burn the Council Lodge. He also stated that the RCMP were planning to raid the camp.

The presence of an expanded Defenders' security force successfully and Peacefully dealt with this incident, and the Sacred Sundance ceremonies were completed without further molestation. (See previous releases June 17, 18, 1995).

Any further attempts to forcibly invade the Defenders' camp will be met with resistant force. "We're not going anywhere," says Defenders' spokesperson Splitting the Sky.

Almost exactly five years ago, Canada sent an armed invasion force against the Mohawk Nation for their defense of Sacred Lands slated for a golf course. Non-native governments, society and the RCMP should reconsider the criminal armed enforcement of the 'rights' of a rancher's cattle to eat, trample and defecate on Sacred unceded lands of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) people. To call RCMP: (604) 395- 2456.

Secwepemc Law provides that beyond the treaty frontier the traditional government has sovereignty and exclusive jurisdiction. The territory at issue is beyond the treaty frontier, as is most of the province of British Columbia.

The Defenders at Gustafson Lake are informed by counsel Dr. Bruce Clark, LL.B., M.A., Ph.D. (Law) - a leading authority on the International and Constitutional Law - that the paramount non- native law agrees with Native Law: "The Natural International and Constitutional Law is the same throughout the Americas: the jurisdiction of the native peoples must be respected until such time as they have surrendered it by voluntary deed of sale. "It is clear and plain that the Rule of Law is not functioning in the Aboriginal rights context. "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 for access to an independent and impartial Tribunal, requested by you and the other Indigenous people in the Petition to the Queen, is crucial. Canada's continuing stonewalling of that access aids and abets the genocide resulting from the aforementioned fraudulent and treasonable invasion. Rest assured that, as a matter of strict law, you are acting within your existing legal rights by resisting the invasion."




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