Aug 13/98: RCMP harass native activist's family


James Michael Craven
Thursday, August 13, 1998

I was just on the phone with Harriet Nahanee and have her permission to share the following; I visit her on the Squamish Reserve where she lives and keep in regular contact with her.

She is a Pacheedaht Elder, a Hereditary Chief, one of the principal organizers of the Tribunal on the Residential Schools in Vancouver on which I sat as a Judge. She is presently active on various issues including on Treaty issues and Defense of Leonard Peltier, she is one of those who argues that the proposed Nis'ga Treaty is a sell-out and she is active in ensuring that the blanket settlement of $350,000,000 for victims of the Residential Schools by the Canadian Government will not be used to gloss over the necessary details to prevent future abuses, tell the true history and find victimizers to bring them to justice.

But I have another reason for putting this out. Following the Tribunal, Harriet, who works with Elders of the Squamish has lost her work. Consistent with her duties as a Pacheedaht Elder and descendant of Hereditary Chiefs, she has been going around schools to teach Pacheedaht Culture. Recently portions of her talks have been showing up on the internet; she does not own or know how to use a computer. Further, a few weeks ago she filed a formal complaint with the RCMP alleging that RCMP came on the Squamish Reserve and twice tried to run over her pregnant granddaughter--witnessed by her son Jeff Nahanee and others. The RCMP asked if an apology would be enough--it was not.

Having been made destitute Harriet walks everywhere. Three days ago she received a phone call and a male voice said "now we have you walking which is where we want you; soon we will be seeing you."

This hero refused to break; she is some fighter who has suffered so much and continues to suffer. There are nexuses--increasingly apparent and threatening to some of the powers-that-be and their interests--between the Residential School Abuses, potential Treaties and composition of the Treaty Commission, present-day forms of sexual and physical abuses of children and rings that facilitate them, intra-Tribal corruption, RCMP machinations, threats by ultra-rightists and their allies etc.

I urge all people of conscience to write vigorous letters of protest to the Canadian Government and bring Harriet's story to their attention and demand full investigation of these matters and all necessary resources for her protection.

This is for real and not some scam. Those who read this, please act.

Back to SIS