Nov 18/97: AFN resolution on Gustafsen/Stoney Point


Settlers In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty (S.I.S.I.S.)
November 18, 1997

The Assembly of First Nations has passed a resolution demanding a full and comprehensive public inquiry into all aspects of the standoffs between indigenous peoples and the Canadian state at Ts'peten and Stoney Point (also known by their colonial names "Gustafsen Lake" and "Ipperwash" respectively).

The resolution reads as follows:

Subject: Call for Inquiry into Canadian Government and Police Actions

WHEREAS in both the Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash incidents, the actions of government and police officials in using excessive force against First Nations citizens is unacceptable; and

WHEREAS governments are attempting to prevent the public from learning the truth about these incidents;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Chiefs-in-Assembly support the demand for a full and comprehensive public inquiry into all aspects of the Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash matters; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Assembly of First Nations will take full responsibility for establishing a mechanism to ensure that a public inquiry takes place into the actions of the provincial and federal governments at Gustafsen Lake, BC and Ipperwash, Ont.

The Stoney Pointers and the Ts'peten Defenders pledged mutual support and solidarity during the simultaneous standoffs on their respective traditional territories in the summer of 1995. They were met with massive state force, the Stoney Pointers surrounded and attacked by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Ts'peten defenders by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Armed Forces.

In both instances, the ensuing trials have revealed that Canadian police shot at unarmed protesters, murdering Anthony Dudley George at Stoney Point, and wounding one person at Ts'peten. Although the stand at Gustafsen Lake was armed, the Crown disclosures during the Gustafsen trial revealed that the RCMP attempted to carry out shoot to kill orders against protesters who, according to the RCMP's own aerial surveillance video, were clearly unarmed.

There are other direct links between the police actions in both standoffs. Crown disclosures in the Gustafsen trial also turned up squabbles between the OPP and the RCMP over the country's two "Wescam" aerial surveillance cameras (the OPP wanted one for use at Stoney Point, but the RCMP got to keep both of them at Gustafsen Lake). Moreover, OPP sent officers to BC to observe the RCMP's Gustafsen operation.

Both the Conservative government in Ontario and the NDP government in BC have doggedly resisted the demands for public inquiries into these scandals. This is hardly surprising given the degree of high-level government involvement that is already appparent even without an inquiry. With the AFN now adding its voice to the inquiry call, the pressure on these provincial governments is likely only to increase.

More information on Ts'peten (Gustafsen Lake):

More information on Stoney Point:

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