Sep 11/95: Gustafsen Lake-Police block movement


Setters In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty (S.I.S.I.S.)
Monday, September 11, 1995

Shuswap traditionalists began the 24th day of a steadily tightening encirclement by an increasingly reinforced RCMP tactical assault force supplemented by Canadian Forces personnel and "Bison" heavy armored all-terrain vehicles (Bison hunting Indians?...)

On Sunday, Shuswap traditionalist Defenders reportedly complained that access to wood and water was critical and requested "that the camp's perimeter be extended to permit access. Police refused." (Vancouver Sun, Sept 11)

RCMP have also refused to allow a mother inside the camp to provide authorization for her little girl's temporary guardians, outside the camp, to approve an appendectomy, which may be necessary should the child's appendicitis worsen. According to Bill Lightbown, a Kootenai elder, RCMP spokesman Sgt. Peter Montague refused to permit a note of authorization to be carried out by a Shuswap delegation.

The current Shuswap mediation team is "part of a three year old community policing policy for native communities...that's why the RCMP allowed elders to enter the camp" said Sgt. Montague (Vancouver Province, Sept 11). An emerging strategy by non-native authorities to delegate surrender negotiations to native mediators and thereby deflect criticism and attention from the police and non-native authorities is transparent and sinister. The native mediators are debriefed by the RCMP after all discussions. And according to Shuswap Tribal Council spokesman Chief Nathan Matthews, "we certainly have the capacity now with our delegation and with the direct communication that we now have with the camp to correspond with them both by radio and in person." Canadian Press, Sept 11, also reports that "RCMP are clearly buoyed by developments...and praised the Shuswap for taking the lead in efforts to end the armed standoff...we are very, very optimistic...that things are going to work out well," said Montague.

BC's Indian Act Chiefs are meeting today in Merritt, BC in emergency session to "consider ways to deal with rage in Indian communities, should either [the Gustafsen Lake or the Ipperwash] standoff end in violence." (Vancouver Sun, Sept 11)

Both groups of traditionalists have declared their resistance, support, and solidarity - for each other. And increasingly across the country native society is rising in protest and support.

Meanwhile, Canada's national newspaper the Globe and Mail in a Sept 9 editorial characterized both communities as "outlaw groups":

"To most natives these rebellious actions were not so much brave as pathetic, the rebels to be shunned...there is no question they have stepped beyond the law."
This is wishful thinking on the part of the Canadian establishment - who realizes its illegal and genocidal colonialism is producing widespread calls for investigation and redress - as a systematic strategy of extinguishment and termination of indigenous sovereignty and jurisdiction accelerates.

Indigenous jurisdiction and sovereignty threatens the globalization of the Canadian economy under NAFTA, GATT, and the Canada-USA Free Trade Agreement. Native jurisdiction directly imperils the dubious legality of these trade treaties and the rapacious hegemony of powerful resource extractors which dominate the Canadian state. Prime Minister Jean Chretien's multiple corporate directorships have included the Toronto-Dominion Bank, Fletcher Challenge's predecessor BC Forest Products Ltd, and the powerful national law firm Lang-Mitchener, which also rents space to prominent government-sponsored native organizations.

The only accuracy in the Globe article was that the standoffs are gestures "of defiance against both Canadian authorities and native authorities, against Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin and against [government-sponsored federal Native leader] Mr. Mercredi himself. Mr. Mercredi's credibility received a damning blow...suddenly impotent, the grand chief is reduced to pleading to his people for patience."

On today's 8:30 am CBC Vancouver radio broadcast, BC Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh responded to Tribal Council Chief Nathan Matthews' "peace" initiatives: "If...they're going to take away the AK-47s and other illegal weapons and turn them over to the police, disarm these campers and defuse the situation and ask them to surrender peacefully - that would be extremely extremely welcome by all British Columbians."

At Ipperwash Beach, Ontario, the standoff between provincial police and Chippewa traditionalists, the "Stoney Pointers" - defending traditional homelands and burial sites - continues as they are joined by hundreds of people from reserves across Canada and the USA for a traditional burial of Dudley George, who was gunned down by police a few days ago. George will be buried on land he died peacefully defending.

The Indian Act Band Council opposed the occupation. According to Canadian Press (Sept 11), Chief Tom Bressette of the Kettle and Stoney Point Band "is desperately trying to negotiate a peaceful end to the standoff and forge a new allegiance with the protestors. But unless the rebels acknowledge his authority, the talks won't resolve anything. No one respects him says one Stoney Pointer Marcia Simon."

According to Dr. Bruce Clark, traditionalists and the inherent Tribal governance structures have been subjected to outrageous and blatant enmity, interference and judicial chicanery in the Canadian courts. Although their arguments are legally impregnable, according to Clark "the risk is real that the conspiracy will go unapprehended due to the fact the criminals themselves, their colleagues and persons aligned in interest control the administration of the legal process."

Clark, a constitutional and international law expert, acts for indigenous traditionalists including a hereditary chief associated with the Ipperwash area as well as Shuswap defenders at Gustafsen Lake. An attempt to mount a "constitutional challenge" in the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday morning will likely involve more stonewalling and attempts to pre-empt addressing the settled and binding constitutional and international law precedents that protect indigenous jurisdiction.

The Gustafsen Defenders are calling for an independent, impartial, international forum to deal with Canada's "fraud, treason and genocide". As Canadian head of state, Queen Elizabeth II is under a constitutional law obligation to constitute such a court, but is thus far acting only "upon the advice of her Canadian ministers" according to Buckingham Palace spokespersons (CBC radio).

Canadian colonialism is in crisis - more state murders masquerading as law enforcement will likely occur if Canada's attempts to cull traditionalists, and impose and fund neo-colonial puppet native governments, go unchecked by the international community. Urgent international action and support is growing and must continue. To be silent is to be an accomplice to Canadian genocide. ACT NOW!

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