Sep 2/97: Gustafsen Lake-land mines used against natives


Settlers In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty (S.I.S.I.S.)
September 2, 1997

Delegates from more than 100 countries are gathering in Oslo, Norway to work on a worldwide ban on land mines. The conference will hopefully lead to a treaty banning the use, manufacture, stockpiling, transfer and sale of land mines.This latest step in the so-called "Ottawa process" began last October in the Canadian capital.

Although the Canadian government is enjoying wide acclaim for what appears to be a principled and vigorous opposition to the use of mines, Canada itself employed the weapon against Indigenous traditionalists defending sacred burial and Sundance grounds at Gustafsen Lake in 1995.

The 31 day siege of the Ts'peten Sundance Camp two years ago, by the largest paramilitary operation in Canadian history, also involved an FBI "psy-ops" consultant involved with the Waco and MRTA "negotiations", and the use of up to 77,000 rounds of internationally prohibited hollow-point ammunition, by RCMP and Canada's Armed Forces. One military officer who testified at a recently concluded criminal trial, described the August 11, 1995 incident as possibly the "biggest land battle by Canadian Forces since the Korean War."

That same day, the authorities targeted a camp vehicle used to carry drinking water from a nearby well. The RCMP placed a command mine beneath an access road and detonated the device beneath the truck. The blast did substantial damage to the vehicle but the truck's occupants survived.

The use of the land mine was reported in an October 8, 1996 story in the Globe and Mail newspaper. At the time of the vehicle's detonation the Canadian authorities characterized the mine as a police "early warning device". During the trial however, details of the device, constructed with 8 "deta sheets" and buried in the roadway, were revealed.

Despite attempts by Ottawa and Victoria to ignore a growing demand for an internationally supervised inquiry into the Gustafsen operation, indigenous supporters from as far away as Guatemala, as well as the European Parliament's Green group, Incomindios, and ex US Attorney General Ramsey Clark are insisting the inquiry go ahead and the native protesters, including a 66 year old Shuswap elder called "Wolverine" be released.


Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien
faxing by email:

To sign by email the petition demanding an inquiry into Gustafsen Lake, send a message to with "petition" in the subject header and "I support the petition for a full public inquiry into the events surrounding the Gustafsen Lake crisis," your name, and your city of residence in the body of the message.

For more information, contact
   Splitting the Sky - Phone/Fax: (604) 543-9661
   Bill Lightbown - Phone: (604) 251-4949


September 3, 1997

Honourable Maria Minna, M.P. Beaches Woodbine
House of Commons, Ottawa, Canada

Ms. Minna,

I've been following the events taking place after the incidents at Gustafsen Lake two years ago. The message below is most disturbing. These issues are close to my heart, with our family being of Aboriginal ancestry (Mi'kmaq/Micmac), as well as of other races. I do not want to believe that our people are under siege by the federal government, or that any errors in judgement on the part of police authorities will go unexamined or will not be appropriately dealt with.

When I think about my Mi'kmaq sister, Anna Mae Aquash, and the others - Dudley George, Wolverine, the Oka tragedy, and the list going on and on, it is hard for me to understand how these things keep happening in spite of the fact that people understand that aboriginal people have the right to live the way we want to, in harmony with Mother Earth and all of the creatures. Our leaders have told all of the newcomers that we want to live in peace, in a good way. They have allowed the settlers to share in the beauty and gifts of this land, and welcomed and protected them as brothers and sisters. But I keep hearing of crimes against our people, such as the one in the message below.

I hope that you will use your voice in government to help the genocide and theft to stop immediately. All over the world, people are clearly seeing the complacency of the Canadian government regarding native rights. This is tantamount to complicity. I know you are a good woman, and would not knowingly play a part in these wrongdoings.

Thank you for your attention to and consideration of these matters. I look forward to hearing from you.

All My Relations,


Wilhelmina Nolan
Toronto, Ontario

Enc: S.I.S.I.S. release, September 2, 1997:
        Canadian government used land mines against aboriginals in 1995

The following email was read on the evening edition of tje CBC Radio news show As it Happens, Tuesday September 2 1997, just after an interview with Lloyd Axworthy, who concluded by saying that even in countries where the governments wish to keep certain practises hidden..."its very difficult. With such things as the internet, nothing much stays secret for very long."

Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 20:37:51 (PDT)
Subject: Land Mines segment

RE: the discussion on the use of land mines.

Just before we cheer too enthusiastically Canada's championing of an anti land mine treaty: On October 8, 1996 in a front page story, the Globe and Mail reported the use of a "land mine" by the authorities during the Gustafsen Lake standoff 2 years ago. Let us hope we soon see the banning of these dreadful weapons everywhere - including Canada.

NOTE: We are informed by Julian West that "the Ottawa process is directly only at anti-personnel landmines, which are pressure-sensitive and can stay in the ground for decades. It is not directed at anti-vehicular or remotely-detonated devices, so the mine used in this [the Gustafsen Lake] operation would not fall under the ban in two senses."

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