First Nations Blockade – Victoria, BC

First Nations Blockade – Victoria, BC

MEDIA ADVISORY
for immediate release
July 2, 2:45 pm

Indigenous activists face police at roadblock

First Nations activists are continuing the days of action with a blockade in Saanichton at this hour. Around 30 people are risking arrest on West Saanich Road between Stelly’s Road and Mt. Newton Cross Road. (See map link below). Members of the Tsartlip Band, other First Nations and their supporters are preventing traffic from passing as they protest injustice against native people.

“This is an action in solidarity with other First Nations across Canada,” Victoria activist Rose Henry said by phone at 2:30 pm Monday. “We are tired of the poor living standards, tired of poverty, tired of having no housing, and tired of the treaty process.”

“The police are here now. More police are arriving,” Henry said. She requests supporters bring friends to help, water, banners, and other supplies. Henry said the protest will go on until 5:30 pm today, assuming police don’t move to break it up before then.

Contact: Rose Henry 250-812-0199 cell
Map:http://tinyurl.com/ywcjbv

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Native blockade a ‘peaceful protest’
First Nations draw attention to lack of health care, housing, schools

Matthew Gauk, with files from Rob Shaw, Times Colonist
Published: Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Native protesters blockaded West Saanich Road for several hours yesterday afternoon between Mount Newton Cross Road and Stelly’s Cross Road as part of last week’s national day of action by Canada’s First Nations.

Traffic was redirected around West Saanich Road by way of Wallace Drive and then back along Mount Newton Cross Road, which left some drivers irate. Those living in the blockaded area were allowed to get to their homes.

Aboriginal protester Rose Henry, a homelessness activist, said the blockades were intended to raise awareness of lack of health care, housing and education infrastructure in First Nations’ communities.

“When you’re looking at the size of Brentwood [Bay] and the amount of people on the housing list … there’s no more housing being built because there’s no more land, and there’s no more land because they haven’t settled treaties,” said Henry. “The West Coast people are now saying ‘we’re tired of being patient, we are really quiet, gentle people, and now we’ve had it.'”

Protesters came from surrounding First Nations communities such as the Tsartlip, whose reserve borders the area where the blockade took place. Henry estimated the combined size of the crowd at both ends of the two-kilometre stretch at about 50 people.

Henry initially said the blockade would remain in place until about 7 or 8 p.m. — when the elders would start getting tired — but by 6:30 p.m., the only one left on the road was a teenage boy practising lacrosse. Henry said community response to the blockade was calm and the number of people “badmouthing” the protesters was few.

Central Saanich police visited the protest site, and Cpl. Andre Rosset said the First Nations members were co-operative. While the natives redirected traffic and talked to drivers about the issues that inspired the protest, police watched in case of trouble. “It was a peaceful protest, they made their point,” said Rosset.

Henry refused to say whether blockades are planned in the near future.

 

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