Urgent Action: These people recently testified at an Inter-Tribal Tribunal dealing with the Residential Schools in Canada and almost immediately after their testimony, actions commenced against them. I was one of the Tribal Judges on that Tribunal and their testimony was moving and very damaging to some of the "powers that be". Please circulate this widely and help if possible.
- Jim Craven
Frank, Helen Michell's husband, is being held in a Pentiction jail (in the interiour of British Comumbia, Canada) and is being deniged his medication perscribed by a Doctor in Vancouver. The Penticton, B.C., court file number is 7247C.
Prior to being put in jail, Frank had lost 20 lbs as he couldn't eat properly as a result of a beating by police, which broke his jaw. The medication is for the injuries receive during the beating. So far, $150 has been raised toward his bail of $500 and we desperately need people to come forward with help toward the remaining amount.
If you can help, please contact Helen Michell c/o 2985 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C., V6K 2R2, Canada. Messages may also be left with Dimitri at 604-738-4260.
In Helen's words:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
To the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates:
On July 1, 1998, Canada celebrated one hundred years of GENOCIDE, on the Indigenous people of this stolen land. The R.C.M.P. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police -- Canada's national police force), also celebrated one hundred and twenty-five years of GENOCIDE on the Indigenous peoples within Canada.
On July 2, 1998, we as an Indigenous family of North Central British Columbia, Canada's most western province, are in need of protection from the British Columbia and Canadian government systems, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Our need for protection is vital because we are against this illegal 'treaty' process happening now in this province.
And now a taste of GENOCIDE;
For the past six months we have been living in Port Coquitlam, just outside of the city of Vancouver, and we are on welfare. The government welfare workers have been very discriminating towards us as a indigenous family, and I have seen many discriminating social workers throughout the province. These workers would do a variety of things to us everytime such as with-holding our rental cheques, cutting the amounts of our cheques down, laughing at us because of our disposition, kicking us out of their office without our cheques, or threatening to call the police. Throughout all of this, the white people who visited their offices were getting their cheques, with no problem. They usually have a security guard at the office, but today, there wasn't any, and so they must of planned to call the police. Our son had moved in with us, that made the social workers mad. She said we couldn't live together because we were related. We found a new place in Vancouver where we could all live together. That made the social workers furious, but they paid my son's rent in the new place for the month of June anyway. Our rent was paid in Port Coquitlam. Now it is July, the social workers refused to pay my son's rent at his new home and refused him his sustenance cheque. Our half of the rent was paid already . So we were back at the office to try and get our sons rent paid. We were already under stress and illness, so we were considering putting our belongings into storage and living in our van again. The workers wouldn't budge. Instead they called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on my husband. There was no charges laid but my husband got hauled away, by a rude and discriminating police officer. My husband was not read his rights and was not informed what the charges were. Except that they say they had a warrant for his arrest for being an 'Illegal alien' in Canada. I had not seen any warrant to this day. We had already been arrested in the past, twice each, on this same charge. The rude R.C.M.P. officer threatened to take me to jail if I didn't stop taking pictures with my camera. As indigenous people in North America, we have 'dual citizenship' in Canada and the United States. So they violated their own laws in this country and also violated our Indigenous Human Rights. The R.C.M.P. officer who arrested us on the 'illegal alien' charge was also an indigenous person. He couldn't tell the difference between his own kind and an alien. While they were arresting my husband, I quickly jumped into my van and raced into Vancouver. I have never been so scared and alone. Later my husband called me and said there is a warrant for my arrest also, for being an illegal alien. I called the office of the elected member of the provincial legislature for Port Coquitlam at 4 p.m. the same day and spoke to the office worker there. She did some investigating and said the government social worker had no right to treat us like that. They should of transferred my son's file to Vancouver before July. So the social workers were in the wrong, but now my husband is in jail. My sons cheque was mailed out that day at 4:30 p.m. thanks to the elected member's office worker. How many other Indigenous families have to suffer as we do, just to survive everyday? Most welfare workers act as if the money is coming out of their pockets.
This 'illegal alien' charge is two years old this July, and they have never bothered us all this time. We have been in their court rooms and police station, they have been in my house in Port Coquitlam a few times. I think because we are to out spoken against a fraudulent 'treaty process' here and to politically active that they want us dismantled and destroyed as a indigenous family. They sure are doing a great job of it.
A few weeks after this illegal alien charge in July, 1996, my husband was brutally beaten up, by ten Vancouver city polices in the downtown section called gastown. Half of his face was completely smashed in from a police flash light. That beating took place on August 8, 1996, and my family has suffered terribly because of that incident. He was in terrible pain and had two tumors in his head, 27 broken bones under his ear, and his jaw was broken down the middle of his mouth. At one time, because of the tumors, my husband went under, while riding on the bus. They took him to the hospital in an ambulance. They were getting ready to do a brain operation, without anybody's consent. My husband said he woke up to knives in the operating room. He quickly jumped up and grabbed his clothing and raced out without putting on his clothes. He changed his clothes in the bushes outside the hospital. Since the beating , my husband has been under two special doctors care and is taking special medication for his head. This arrest cuts him off his treatment, which is another human rights violation.
Since this brutal beating, the head sergeant of that Vancouver police outfit died of liver cancer, a week before his retirement. Five other city police officers have become mentally ill, of which one died this past Saturday. We have no hand in what ever is happening to them. Justice still wins in the end regardless of the injustices. They have offered Frank an out of court settlement which started at $50,000 and the last offer was $250,000. How much does a human's right to life cost? In my words no amount of money could replace what we went through, a life of shambles and the loss of many lives. Today is July 3, and it is my husband's birthday. Happy birthday Frank, where ever you are. We all love you, be strong and stay alive please. Maybe they will try to kill my husband while he is in custody, so they don't have to pay anything. I know they are already paying for that brutal beating.
On June 30, 1998, we buried my cousin, who was murdered on the east side of Vancouver. Her sister was buried a month ago. I think she was murdered also. The cousin we buried on June 30, her face was smashed in, on the same side as my husbands face, when he was done in. When I looked at her in the coffin, one last time, I flashed on my husbands face when he was beaten up by the police. We called for an investigation on her death. Now they say there are ten more indigenous women murdered or missing from the east side of Vancouver.
In 1993, our little family drove to New York city to lodge our complaints to the United Nation, regarding our disposition in this country. It seems like our lives went from bad to worse, after that journey. The United Nations had no ears for indigenous peoples in Canada. Since going to the United Nations, I have buried a brother and two nephews, and my oldest sister. My brother was involved in a drug conspiracy case, he was a witness. Both him and his girlfriend were killed. One nephew was run over by a truck and killed instantly, his killer was never found or convicted. Another nephew was stabbed six times, by a Canadian government supported indigenous leader, who didn't want to pay out settlement money owed to my nephew, for the flooding out of his log houses and land. It's weird that my nephew knew when he was going to die, and who would do it to him. My sister was contaminated with blood cancer, she passed away a month after the Vancouver police beating on my husband. The same things happened to my parents and my grandparents, who are also deceased.
My husband and I have been together for seventeen years now. In those seventeen years we have never tasted an ounce of FREEDOM without fear of prosecution or worse. Our life together has been spent in the court rooms and on the run. They could never convict us on any charge, there was always a stay of proceedings. Throughout most of our time together, we spent most of our lives as fugitives on our own lands. Our children were always with us . We also have a grandchild, who we haven't seen in two years, because they live in Prince George, in the center of the province.
I think the world should know what is happening to us and other Indigenous people in Canada. who stand up for their international rights. We cannot get a lawyer to represent us. No human being would represent us as humans. In every way they violated our HUMAN RIGHTS, as an Indigenous family. Where do we go from here? Can anyone help us?
Human Rights is fifty years old and many of the Indigenous people in North America never live past that age, because of all the abuses and useless policies, and discrimination is a disease more contagious than AIDS.
We are seeking funding for filing suits to sue the Canadian government, the police forces, and Canadian supported indigenous governments. It looks like there is no way, in this world, we could dare to go that far. With our past experiences though, we know there is a higher power and miracles do happen.
We are fighting to survive in this heartless world, and it sure isn't getting any easier. For many of our people, suicide is the easy way out. We plan to stand up for our rights as a family.
Please send letters that support us to the Canadian government.
Meci cho (Thank you very much)
Telqua (Helen Michell)
Bear Clan families of Maxan Lake