Jun 18/95: Gustafsen Lake-Defenders press release


June 18, 1995

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.

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