Archive for July, 2007

Cree Nation blockade at Conawapa

Posted in Cree Nation, Resistance on July 31, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Native blockade at Conawapa

cjob.com
JUL 23 2007

Manitoba Hydro says its currently in talks with the Fox Lake First Nation about a blockade at the Conawapa exploration site in northern Manitoba.

CEO Bob Brennan tells CJOB it appears one or more people are blocking the road leading to the site, which also houses construction workers.

Brennan says it’s not clear what the protesters are demanding, but adds their actions are not endorsed by the band.

He says the blockade isn’t causing any problems at this time, and says Manitoba Hydro also uses helicopters to supply the camp.

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“Manitoba Hydro desecrates Aboriginal Burial Ground near Gillam”,
First Perspective (May 5, 2007)

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Tyendinaga update

Posted in Day of (In)Action, Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on July 31, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Arson suspected in trailer fire

For: http://www.intelligencer.ca
The Belleville Intelligencer
Saturday, July 21, 2007

A trailer parked along Highway 401 east of Belleville went up in flames Friday morning.

Tyendinaga Township fire Chief Dan Callaghan says firefighters were alerted to the blaze around 6 a.m.

The trailer, which had been parked on the south side of the highway, sported a Mohawk warrior symbol and the slogan “We support our troops.”

The sign refers to Mohawks occupying a Deseronto-area gravel pit as part of a land-claim protest.

Callaghan says an arson investigation is underway.

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Damage to 401 during protest could cost thousands

Samantha Craggs
For: http://www.intelligencer.ca
The Belleville Intelligencer
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Officials for the Ministry of Transportation report they have no estimates on the cost to fix damage done to Highway 401 during the recent national aboriginal day of action.

But a local expert said repairing road damages can cost thousands.

The June 29 protest, which saw police close a portion of the major highway from Belleville to Deseronto, caused minor damage to the road, most of which has been fixed, said spokeswoman Emna Dhahak.

Sections of a fence were knocked down or removed from three quadrants of an interchange, and two southbound guard rail posts were burned or damaged, she said.

There was a small area of burned asphalt on the paved shoulder and ash debris that was full of nails, she said.

There was also one crushed culvert end and two symbols painted on the structure piers, driving surface and barrier wall, she said.

The symbols will be covered with gray paint this week, she said.

Tyendinaga Township officials have yet to comment on whether damage was done to County Road 2, which was also blocked, said Reeve Margaret Walsh.

While MTO has no estimates yet, the cost of fixing guard rails varies, said Gerry LeMay, Belleville’s superintendent of public works when asked what, typically, such work entails.

A recent guard rail mangled by a car accident on North Front Street cost “a couple of thousand dollars” to fix, LeMay estimated.

With spray paint, “it varies,” he said of what it costs the city.

“It may just be a matter of painting over top of it. It’s just time consuming and a pain.”

The day of protest is not the only cause of local spray paint related to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

“No OPP” can be found along Highway 49.

Recently, someone spray painted “No Indians welcome” on the highway leading in to Prince Edward County, said Chief R. Donald Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

Sharbot Lake Rejects Offer

Posted in Algonquin Nation, Resistance on July 21, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Sharbot Lake Rejects Offer

In Sharbot Lake within the past couple of months a small number of the Algonquins from the Ardoch First Nation repatriated their unceded traditional lands, still currently used by Natives and Non-Natives for hunting and fishing. In the same area in Northern Ontario, a corporation called FRONTENAC VENTURES has been “testing” the area for “possible” uranium mining for a few years. The area they repatriated is currently under negotiations with CANADA. However these negotiations are “on hold” by CANADA. Yet FRONTENAC still has a license to carry on with their “testing”.

Yesterday Frontenac Ventures made a financial offer to the Algonquins of Ardoch First Nation. This financial offer was flat out rejected by the Algonquins. No amount of money can ever compensate them for the likelihood of death, cancer, mutated births, still births, sterilization and other health risks that will arise as a direct result of uranium mining.

The health risks are too great for our future generations. The enviromental damage will be substantial and unstoppable. Why take the risk with any of our children? The responsibility of our people is to maintain life for our future generations. That’s all aspects of life. The plant life, animal life and human life.

We are born with a responsibility to protect life, no matter what the cost is to us.

The Algonquins need our support as they are undertaking a HUGE responsibility. They are fighting to protect practically the whole watershed of Northeastern Ontario. Everyone connected to that watershed will benefit, when the Algonquins are successful.

When asked about the financial offer one Algonquin stated, “…we can not be bought. (the land repatriation is) Not about money…”

Janie Jamieson

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“Protesters, mining company meet face to face”
Kingston Whig-Standard (July 19, 2007)

Sit-in aims to oust chief

Posted in Coast Salish Territory, Repression, Resistance on July 11, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Sit-in aims to oust chief
Natives plan to stay outside band offices until Stan Dixon resigns

Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SECHELT – Sechelt First Nation members barricaded the band offices Tuesday in an attempt to force the resignation of Chief Stan Dixon, who accepted the RCMP’s apology for pepper-spraying a crowd of people June 30.

About 50 band members then staged a sit-in outside the chained and padlocked administrative offices.

Signs reading: “Our elders are watching you” and “Stan isn’t our man” were placed around the site.

The protesters, who tucked into a barbecue lunch of hotdogs and hamburgers, said they will remain outside the offices until the chief quits.

About 25 people who work in the administrative offices were unable to get inside.

“That was the last straw on the back: that he accepted the apology without the consent of council and without consulting people who were pepper sprayed,” said protester Wesley Jeffries, a former councillor.

“He’s making decisions on his own. We need a chief to work for the people.”

The call for Dixon’s resignation came the morning after a regular band council meeting at which a video of the pepper-spray incident was shown.

Fourteen people — six of them children — were taken to hospital after police used pepper spray against a procession of 20 vehicles from the Sechelt Nation celebrating the victory of two teams in a youth soccer tourney.

Sechelt RCMP made a formal apology last week, saying police were trying to control nearby adults and hadn’t intended to spray any children.

On Tuesday, Dixon defended his decision, saying it was a start at reconciling the rift between the police and the band, and an investigation into the incident is more important.

Investigators from Vancouver were expected to head to Sechelt today to start the internal investigation.

Dixon said there is nothing in the band’s constitution that would require him to resign. He can only be thrown out, he said, if he has a criminal record, owes money to the band, is involved in an illicit love affair or is abusing drugs and alcohol.

Dixon’s three-year term as chief runs out next April.

“My integrity is intact,” he said. “I’m not going to bow down to a resignation for something that’s not my fault.” He said there are no plans to have police evict the protesters as some of the councillors are involved in the sit-in.

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“Members call for chief’s resignation”, Coast Reporter (July 13 – 19, 2007)

Vancouver Solidarity with Sechelt Nation

14 Sechelt Natives Pepper-Sprayed by Cops

Residents, natives protest uranium mine; 300 participate in Sharbot Lake march

Posted in Algonquin Nation, Resistance on July 10, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Residents, natives protest uranium mine; 300 participate in Sharbot Lake march

Jordan Press
The Kingston Whig-Standard (Ontario, Canada)
Monday, July 09, 2007

A retired minister, John Hudson moved from Kingston to the Sharbot Lake area15 years ago.

He moved for the scenery, the environment and the quiet, but all that could change and yesterday, he was preaching against a plan that would see uranium mined near his home.

Marching along Highway 7, Hudson said he’s worried about the environmental impacts from the proposed operation.

“I’m right down the river and I see enough crap coming down our river,” said Hudson, 70. “The bottom line is I don’t want a uranium mine at my back door.”

And neither did the estimated 300 people who marched along with Hudson, area residents and Sharbot Lake and Ardoch Algonquin First Nations members.

“We were hoping for 100,” said Doreen Davis, chief of the Sharbot Lake Algonquin First Nation. “I am just honoured and humbled that the people are here to support us.

Davis said everyone wants to see a full moratorium on mining the substance and the demonstration was designed to get the attention of upper levels of government.

“And if not, we’ll do this again,” she said. “We’ll continue until somebody listens.”

Yesterday’s march went from the intersection of highways 7 and 509 west to Highway 38. Along the way, the band of demonstrators grew as more people appeared on the road and joined the march.

Waving flags, chanting, singing, drumming and holding signs, the march had a simple message summed up on many of the homemade signs they carried and the T-shirts they wore: “No uranium mining.”

Provincial police closed off that section of the highway and re-routed traffic through the area for the one-hour march that police described as “extremely peaceful.”

Harold Perry, honorary chief of the Sharbot Lake Algonquin First Nation, said there is an obligation to fight the proposed mining operation.

“We can’t afford to have this kind of stuff going on,” he said. “I don’t want my daughter and the next generations to grow up with a thing like that.”

Mining uranium causes long-term environmental and health effects because of its radioactivity, said Joan Kuyek, national co-ordinator for MiningWatch Canada.

“In this case, the local communities are saying they don’t want it, the Algonquins are saying they want it and we support that,” Kuyek said.

A group of Algonquins have been at the entrance to the proposed mining site. The occupation is now into its second week.

Along with Algonquins have come area residents who oppose the project. Some have brought themselves, others food and supplies.

Frontenac Ventures Corporation has staked 400 claims over about 8,000 hectares in North and Central Frontenac. The land is a mix of private and Crown land, the latter being the subject of negotiations between the Algonquins and provincial government.

Frank Morrison is one of those people who found out the company has a stake on his property. He marched yesterday and said residents needed to back the Algonquins because it was the area’s lone hope.

Under provincial law, the land on native reserves isn’t available for mineral collection.

“The land claim is going to save us and if it wasn’t for that, we might as well pack up and go home,” he said.

Just like the march, the number of people taking up the cause is increasing, Morrison said.

“It’s just growing exponentially,” he said. “That’s what happens when people finally find out what’s going on here.”

“This,” he said looking up and down the mass of marchers, “is more symbolic than anything else.”

Hudson said he was concerned about the way the proposal was being handled with people such as Morrison simply being told the company had a right to mine their property.

“It will be interesting to see what the position of our provincial government will be,” he said.

Any hint of problems from mining uranium could cause damage to the area’s economy, said Norman Guntensperger, a councillor from Central Frontenac. Mining uranium could damage the area’s hope to attract more tourists and needed to be stopped, he said.

“We want to get the word out. I see this as the beginning of a long fight,” he said.

Vancouver Solidarity with Sechelt Nation

Posted in Coast Salish Territory, Repression, Resistance on July 6, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Vancouver Solidarity with Sechelt Nation

By Wii’nimkiikaa
Friday, July 6, 2007

About 70 people demonstrated today at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory, against the recent Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) attack on members of the Sechelt Nation. About half of those attending the demonstration were members of the Sechelt Nation and the soccer team who were pepper-sprayed while they celebrated on the reserve Monday night.

Rally participants held up posters for the event reading, “Stop RCMP Abuse”. Young members of the Sechelt Nation held up their soccer tournament trophies and wore their medals, while adults from the community spoke against the RCMP assault and the Sechelt band council chief’s hasty acceptance of an RCMP apology for the incident, before even consulting his community. Songs, drumming and the Unity/Warrior flag were also part of the rally.

About nine officers from the Vancouver Police Department engaged in surveillance of the demonstration from the sidelines, including bicycle and motorcycle cops.

14 Sechelt Natives Pepper-Sprayed by Cops

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OPEN LETTER TO THE RCMP

RCMP Headquarters
1200 Vanier Parkway
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R2

From local Indigenous groups active on Coast Salish Territory

July 5, 2007

We greatly condemn the RCMP’s vicious and sinister use of violence against a six-month-old baby in the Sechelt community in BC. While the baby’s face and scalp was severely burned from the RCMP’s use of pepper spray on him, the RCMP chose to claim that they were justified in the violence.

There is absolutely no justification in the deliberate administration of violence and bodily harm against a small baby. Further we also condemn the use of aggression the RCMP used against the Sechelt community members who were celebrating a youth soccer championship victory. It is clear in this case that the RCMP wanted to cause trouble and attacked members of the community, many whom were young people and moms, arbitrarily.

The situation points to the extremes the RCMP will go to attempt to assert irrational and arbitrary powers in our Indigenous communities. It is an example of why we need to stop depending on and giving legitimacy to racist, cruel and violent state oppressors like the RCMP. We stand in solidarity with the Sechelt people and support whatever actions they wish to take against the RCMP and in their community. We assert that the guilty RCMP officers and cohorts, who violently attacked a Sechelt baby, and other members of the community, should be removed from the force immediately. In addition, we feel that the RCMP should be banned from Indigenous communities permanently given the longitude of their abuses against our children, youth, Elders, women, and men.

Sincerely,

The International Indigenous Youth Conference Secretariat
Redwire Native Youth Media
The Indigenous Action Movement

We are watching you

Shawn Brant denied bail

Posted in Day of (In)Action, Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on July 6, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Brant denied bail

Samantha Craggs
The Belleville Intelligencer
Friday, July 06, 2007

Not even the honour of Shawn Brant’s mother could keep the Mohawk activist out of jail on new charges of mischief and breach of recognizance.

Brant’s mother Deanna, a retired teacher, took the stand at Brant’s bail hearing Thursday, offering a $50,000 surety that Brant would not plan, incite or participate in illegal protests between now and his court date. But Judge D.K. Kirkland denied bail anyway.

“It would be dangerous for him to be released at this time because he’s said ‘there’s more to come,'” Kirkland said after a nearly three-hour session.

Brant appeared in court seeking bail on the latest in a series of criminal charges, none of which has been proven in court. The earliest stems back to November 2006, when an accidental clash with Canadian military personnel during an otherwise peaceful demonstration near Deseronto led to two charges of assault and one charge of mischief.

Then in April, Brant led a group occupying a Deseronto-area quarry to block the CN Rail line for 30 hours, halting traffic on the busiest rail corridor in eastern Canada. He was out on bail from that charge when he was the voice of a group of protesters who on June 29, the national aboriginal day of action, blocked County Road 2 protesting First Nations poverty, unresolved land claims and high youth suicide rates, among other issues.

That protest also led to the closure of the rail line and a portion of Highway 401. This week’s arrest warrant, OPP said, relates specifically to County Road 2.

Peter Rosenthal, a Toronto-based social justice lawyer representing Brant, argued that conditions now are different from when Brant agreed on May 3 not to plan or participate in illegal protests. For one, Brant has agreed to step back and let native leaders negotiate, Rosenthal said. For another, he would not jeopardize his mother’s word.

“It’s obvious from the testimony that Mrs. Brant is the kind of surety courts look for,” Rosenthal said. “On those grounds alone, you must be satisfied.”

But Crown attorney Bob Morrison was not. Brant’s mother, like everyone else, knew from various media reports that Brant was talking about blocking Highway 401 and did not try to stop him, he said.

Morrison also took Brant to task when he took the stand on his own behalf, bringing up how open Brant was about breaching his May 3 bail conditions.

“You had no intention of ever complying, did you?” Morrison asked.

“Well…” Brant said. “I actually…no.”

Brant said if released on bail, he would not disrespect his mother’s honour “or place her in a position where I did that,” he said. “That’s not who we are.”

At the same time, “I believe we touched people’s hearts” on the national day of action, he said. “I believe for the first time in 125 years, people gave a shit if our kids live or die.”

The questioning took an unexpected turn when Morrison asked Brant to tell him about his house. Brant said he is building a “longhouse for community events,” about 1,500 square feet, with cherry floors, stone walls and wood ceilings using material he started saving seven years ago when he was on social assistance.

Brant appeared in court after a negotiated surrender to Napanee OPP Thursday morning. He arrived in a car driven by wife Sue, which also carried Dustin Brant, 20, who Shawn Brant said will be the new speaker of the quarry group.

“I hope they don’t believe putting me in jail puts the issue in jail,” Brant told media before his surrender.

In court, Brant wore a green shirt and camouflage pants and was cuffed at the hands and feet. He listened quietly from the prisoner’s box as the Crown read his own words back to him, citing various media reports where he said the first Highway 401 closure was “just the beginning.” OPP officers set up a metal detector in the stairwell leading to the courtroom, screening spectators for weapons.

Kirkland said he admires civil rights defenders such as Martin Luther King Jr. But blockades and other such tactics, he said, are Black Panther-style militancy. Granting Brant bail would be undermining the court, and doing so would contribute to “chaos,” he said.

“We do need people to protest,” Kirkland said. “We do need Shawn Brants to protest…Taking the law into your own hands, however, violates the order of society and is the beginning of the escalation of violence upon violence.”

About four rows of the court room gallery were filled Brant supporters, many of whom wore camouflage clothing similar to that worn on the day of action.

“Sago!” (a Mohawk salutation) some of them called to Brant, raising their fists in unison when court was adjourned. Brant raised his fist back as he was led out of the courtroom.

The preliminary hearing will be Aug. 27.

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CN sues Brant and others, again

Samantha Craggs
The Belleville Intelligencer
Friday, July 06, 2007

Canadian National is slapping another lawsuit on Mohawk protester Shawn Brant for blocking its main Toronto-to-Montreal rail line.

Brant is being sued again — making two active civil suits from the corporation — in relation to parking an old school bus across its rail line during the June 29 national aboriginal day of action, CN spokesman Mark Hallman confirmed the suit Friday.

CN is suing for financial damages incurred when rail traffic was cancelled June 29, Hallman said. The amount has not been specified, although CN has said that $103 million worth of freight is carried on the line during an average 24-hour period. CN halted freight operations and embargoed all traffic that day after hearing native protesters had erected an illegal blockade near Marysville, said a statement released that day.

CN also sued Brant — along with Jason Maracle, Tara Green, “John Doe, Jane Doe and persons unknown” — for a 30-hour blockade of the rail line April 20, and another blockade a year earlier. Also included in the recent lawsuit are “John Doe, Jane Doe and persons unknown.”

Hallman stressed the lawsuit was “related specifically to the actions of June 29. We enjoy very positive relations with First Nations.”

No dates have been set for the suit, nor have the allegations been proven in court.

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brant.jpg

Tyendinaga, June 29th, 2007, Assembly of First Nations Day of (In)Action