Archive for August, 2007

Shawn Brant freed on bail

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on August 31, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Shawn Brant freed on bail

Jeremy Ashley
The Belleville Intelligencer
Friday, August 31, 2007

Mohawk activist Shawn Brant was ordered to stand trial on nine criminal charges before walking out of a Dundas Street West courthouse and into the arms of friends and loved ones Thursday.

Brant, who has spent the last two months in custody, was released on strict bail conditions including not to participate in any demonstrations or protests and not to leave his house for the next 30 days without police permission.

Brant was also ordered to stay away from the Deseronto Road quarry currently occupied by fellow protesters and to report daily to his mother Deanna Brant and family friend Winston Maracle, both of whom put up $50,000 each to the court in collateral to secure his release.

In contrast to his earlier bail reviews, a publication ban was issued Thursday on any evidence presented.

Justice Robert Fournier said the greatest concern in granting Brant’s release “is the chance the person may re-offend.”

The climate has changed dramatically since the National Aboriginal Day of Action at the end of June, in which Brant purportedly lead a group of protesters during blockades of Highway 2, Old Highway 2 and railway lines near Deseronto, Fournier said.

“I think the situation has changed,” said the out-of-town judge, “so the risk has changed.”

After a lengthy diatribe about issues facing native people and the country at large, Fournier looked directly at Brant.

“Mr. Brant, you are raising concerns about a group of people who are very dear to you … (and) I get the feeling the last little while you may have realized the err in your ways. I’m getting the impression you’re getting the picture.”

Fournier also said the reason people are incarcerated before a trial or court proceeding “is to protect, not punish.” He said he didn’t believe Brant was a high risk to re-offend, especially since the money put up for bail by his mother and friend would be lost if he breached the conditions.

Before granting bail, Fournier declared that Brant would face a criminal trial on charges including breaching conditions imposed after he was charged during a Deseronto protest last November, leading a group of Mohawk protesters that obstructed the main CN rail line in April and for apparently co-ordinating the June 29 blockade which obstructed a large section of County Road 2, two CN rail line crossings and led to the closure of part of Highway 401.

Brant is charged with six counts of mischief exceeding $5,000, two counts of breaching his recognizance and one count of failing to obey a court order.

Fournier ordered Brant to return to court for a pretrial hearing on Oct. 5.

In handing down his decision to release Brant back into the community, Fournier said the Tyendinaga resident would not only be making a promise to the court and police to abide by certain conditions, it would be a personal promise to the judge himself.

“I have a fair bit of respect for you now,” the judge said. “I have absolutely no respect for your methods. I hate your methods.”

Fournier said he would release his written decision for sending the matter to trial next week.

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Trailer at Tyendinaga, visible from Highway 401, burned-down July 20, 2007

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Methane dispute reignites in B.C.

Posted in Resistance, Tahltan Nation on August 23, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Methane dispute reignites in B.C.

WENDY STUECK
The Globe and Mail
August 22, 2007

VANCOUVER — A group of protesters, including members of the Tahltan and Iskut Indian bands, blocked a road in northwestern British Columbia yesterday, preventing Royal Dutch Shell PLC crews from heading into a contested region to do road repair work and reigniting a debate over coal bed methane exploration in the area.

Shell is reviewing its options, spokesman Larry Lalonde said yesterday, adding that it’s too early to say if the company will seek an injunction to gain access to its exploration projects.

“We have to look at everything that’s there – one of those options could include seeking an injunction, but we haven’t made that decision yet,” Mr. Lalonde said.

Shell has licenses to drill up to 14 wells in the region. The company voluntarily curtailed exploration work in 2005 and 2006 following similar protests.

Opponents says coal bed methane projects could pollute surface and ground water, threaten fish and wildlife habitat, and disrupt a remote wilderness landscape. Coal bed methane is natural gas found in coal seams. B.C. currently does not have any coal bed methane production, but the province has voiced support for coal bed gas development.

For this season, Shell planned to reopen three of four previously drilled wells and possibly drill new ones, Mr. Lalonde said. In response to concerns about potential water contamination, the company has promised to truck any from its exploration activities away from the site for treatment or disposal.

Before Shell can do any exploration work, it must repair a road badly damaged by this past winter’s heavy snowfalls and flooding. Road repair crews and equipment turned back after encountering protesters on the Ealue Lake Road, near Iskut in northwestern B.C., yesterday morning.

In 2005, 13 people were arrested at a blockade at the same site that targeted Fortune Minerals Ltd., an Ontario-based company that has a coal project in the region.

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Sacred Headwaters

35 natives charged with breach of sockeye fishing ban

Posted in Coast Salish Territory, Repression on August 23, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

35 natives charged with breach of sockeye fishing ban

MARK HUME
The Globe and Mail
August 21, 2007

VANCOUVER — Federal fisheries patrols on the lower Fraser River over the weekend led to charges against 35 people accused of fishing during a closed period.

Herb Redekopp, chief of enforcement for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the lower Fraser, said the fishermen were all natives – mostly members of the Musqueam and Cheam bands – and they were using gillnets, trying to catch sockeye salmon during a shutdown that was imposed because stocks are at historic lows.

“Both Saturday and Sunday were very busy for us,” Mr. Redekopp said.

The federal government has closed the lower Fraser River to allow adequate numbers of sockeye to get upstream to spawning beds, and to allow a very limited catch by up-river bands for food and ceremonial purposes.

“We really stepped up enforcement this year. It’s a 40- or 50-year low [for sockeye numbers] … we need to get all of the fish through the lower Fraser and into the upper river,” Mr. Redekopp said.

Native leaders announced last week that they would be fishing on the lower river on the weekend despite the shutdown, because DFO had allowed a salmon sports fishery to continue until midnight Sunday.

Mr. Redekopp said the native anglers who were stopped on the river were co-operative and there were no confrontations.

“All the individuals we dealt with stopped fishing and left the river,” he said.

He said very few fish were caught, although he couldn’t provide numbers.

The 35 fishermen who were given notices to appear in court could face fines of up to $100,000 each if convicted.

Chief Ernest Campbell of the Musqueam band has said native fishermen will be arguing they had an aboriginal right to fish.

Mr. Redekopp said enforcement officers also kept a close eye on sports anglers over the weekend, who had to release any sockeye they caught, and no violations were noted.

“We did see some sockeye caught and released [by sports anglers] … we didn’t see anybody retaining sockeye, which was a pleasant surprise.”

Mr. Redekopp said that because sports fishermen this summer haven’t been able to keep any sockeye, the number of anglers on the water has dropped dramatically.

“Instead of 2,000 recreational anglers on the [gravel] bars … we now have between 100 and 300. The numbers are way down,” he said.

The sports fishing shutdown imposed Sunday applies to the Fraser River between Mission and Hope.

Recreational anglers above and below that area are still allowed to fish for species other than sockeye.

Mr. Redekopp said although enforcement officers have seen some sockeye being snagged by sports anglers, the numbers of fish taken were very low, and all were released.

“The vast majority of the first nation bands on the lower Fraser, and most anglers in the recreation fishing community, have been very conscientious about not catching sockeye,” Mr. Redekopp said. “The focus is on the few who are determined to fish on weak [sockeye] stocks, but we are really getting tremendous co-operation from the majority of fishermen.”

Over the weekend, federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn urged all user groups to work together to help conserve sockeye stocks.

Although 6.3 million sockeye were expected to return this year, only about 1.6 million did, raising concerns there might not be enough fish on the spawning beds this fall.

“Ultimately, the survival of sockeye will depend on all [fishing] groups,” Mr. Hearn said.

“Protest fisheries or illegal fishing, particularly this year, have the potential to do considerable harm to sockeye populations in B.C.,” he said, urging everyone to respect regulations.

Six Nations Update

Posted in Repression, Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on August 13, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Rally at Cayuga Court House – Monday Aug 13/07

Over the last couple of weeks we, at Six Nations, have been working on a public educational awareness campaign as it pertains to Canadian Law.

The main issue being the B.C. Supreme Court Ruling: Haida, Taku, Mikkisew Ruling. The ruling states no one (developers, financiers, even the government! -all levels) can develop on disputed traditional lands unless they consult with the Nation(s) who are putting forth the land dispute. The land dispute does not have to be resolved the land dispute only has to exist.

Meaning any of the financiers loaning money to the developers and the developers themselves and yes the governments issuing permits to develop are all in contempt of court by not abiding by the Supreme Court Ruling.

As all Canadian Citizens should know, a Supreme Court ruling under your system is supposed to be the law.

In March 2006 we were served with two court injunctions ordering us to leave Kanonhstaton (Douglas Creek Estates). As Ogwehowe we are sovereign with our own languages, customs, traditional land base, defined territories and a willingness to defend our land. We also have our own constitution… the Constitution of the Confederacy or the Great Peace. In knowing that we maintained our presence at Kanonhstaton (Douglas Creek Estates). We were upholding our tradtional responsiblities and acting in accordance with our own Constitution. We didn’t acknowledge the Canadian Court Ruling.

Without our presence in the Canadian court a judgement was made against us claiming we were not abiding by a court ruling. Thomas David Marshall then issued warrants for our arrests stating we were violating a court ruling. He claimed those of us who remained at Kanonhstaton were in CONTEMPT OF COURT.

Many Canadian Citizens, especially all levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal), developers and financial supporters involved pushed for the CONTEMPT OF COURT warrants to be executed. Thousands cried, “RULE OF LAW” needs to be imposed.

Well, on April 20, 2006 that Rule of Law was imposed on our unarmed people, illegally, due to the fact we are truly sovereign. The Dominion State of Canada nor any other corporation in the world has jurisdiction over our daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles, grandmothers or our grandfathers.

My point is there is clear discrimination happening in the CANADIAN COURT SYSTEM. The B.C. Supreme Court Ruling regarding development on disputed land is a court order.

Therefore:

ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT APPROVING DEVELOPMENT ON DISPUTED LAND ARE IN CONTEMPT OF COURT.
ALL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS LOANING MONEY TO DEVELOP ON DISPUTED LANDS ARE IN CONTEMPT OF COURT.
ALL DEVELOPERS DEVELOPING ON DISPUTED LANDS ARE IN CONTEMPT OF COURT.

On April 20, 2006 our men, women and children of all ages from young teens (14) to our elderly (late seventies) were beaten, dragged around by the hair, tasered, peppersprayed, billyclubbed, arrested and the short and long range targets of some really heavy weaponry.

At first, our cell phones were disabled so no one could call for help. (Thank you Bell Canada, Telus, Roger’s, etc.!!!)

At the end of the day over 20 of our people were charged, arrested and detained by the Ontario Provincial Police. Our people were handcuffed and dragged to the CAYUGA courthouse. How ironic, land CANADA has yet to show its proof of ownership.

The Court System, the developer and the OPP went to this extreme to exert their CONTEMPT OF COURT ruling.

My question is … why aren’t all levels of goverment (municipal, provincial and federal) being drug around by the hair, tasered, staring down at high powered rifles being, being targeted bysnipers?

Why isn’t the same happening to the financial institutions funding these projects?

Why aren’t the developers held to the same standard of law we were?

They are all in CONTEMPT OF COURT.

ONE RULE OF LAW FOR ALL, ISN’T THAT WHAT PEOPLE ARE CRYING?
EQUAL TREATMENT FOR CANADIAN CITIZENS AND OGWEHOWE, RIGHT?

Well when does discrimination and genocide against our people stop and this RULE OF LAW begin with CANADIAN CITIZENS ???

Let’s start by attending a peaceful information rally outside the
Cayuga Courthouse on Monday August 13, 2007 @ 9:00am.
Please bring your lawn chairs, hats, sunscreen, umbrellas and water.

NOTE: At the same time Ronnie Gibson’s (Mohawk from Akwesasne) jursidictional challenge will be happening inside.

Again, what irony!!!

Janie Jamieson,
Six Nations

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Native group protests new development

August 11, 2007
Dana Brown and Daniel Nolan
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Aug 11, 2007)

A developer believes he resolved a native protest in front of his housing project yesterday by quietly talking to protesters and letting them know he understands their concerns about unresolved land claims.

John Kragten, building a 90-home development called Stirling Woods in the south of town, says he also agreed to talk about land claims with Ottawa and Queen’s Park.

Stirling Woods, on Stirling Street, is a few blocks north of Douglas Creek Estates, an Argyle Street South housing project natives have occupied for almost 18 months over a land claim.

“They understood our position,” Kragten said after about 20 people ended a three-hour information picket in front of his development yesterday morning.

“We understand their position (and) what we’re trying to do is get it out there that maybe if we work together we can help you (Six Nations) pressure the provincial and federal government a bit to start working on these land claims and make it so there isn’t work interruption like we’ve been having.”

The native group, consisting of veterans of the Douglas Creek Estates occupation like Janie Jamieson, set up in front of Stirling Woods at 7 a.m. They hung up a banner that said “Honor Indian Treaties” and waved signs with such sentiments as “Our Voice Should Matter” and “We are not Terrorists.”

Jamieson said the protest was staged to tell residents that Six Nations land rights are violated when their land is sold and developed without consultation. She said Kragten agreed to meet with them in two weeks to discuss their concerns.

The natives claim 10 kilometres on each side of the Grand River under the Haldimand Proclamation from 1784. The land was given to them by the British Crown for help during the American War of Independence. Ottawa, which is negotiating an end to the Argyle Street standoff, says Six Nations agreed to a general surrender of land, and the creation of the Six Nations Reserve, in 1844. Jamieson and others dispute that.

The Haldimand OPP said the protest was peaceful.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government announced yesterday it was investing in the town’s business retention and expansion plan. Agriculture Minister Leona Dombrowsky said the province will contribute $32,400 to the plan, which is being overseen by Haldimand County, the local chamber of commerce, the Grand Erie Business Centre and the Business Improvement Area. The plan will explore economic growth options for the area.

“The information collected from this study will help our community assess and identify new opportunities for local businesses,” Suzanne Athanasiou, a chamber director, said in a statement.

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Six Nations rally at housing development site in Caledonia, August 10, 2007

Shawn Brant denied bail again

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on August 13, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Brant denied bail again

Samantha Craggs and Luke Hendry
The Belleville Intelligencer
Saturday, August 11, 2007

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While Mohawk and anti-poverty activists protested peacefully outside the courthouse, inside, Shawn Brant was once again denied bail Friday.

The protest leader from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, charged with two counts each of mischief and breach of recognizance for blocking roads and rail lines, will remain in Quinte Detention Centre awaiting trial. Brant has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 27.

After a day-long bail review Friday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Denis Power agreed with the previous justice who said Brant posed too much of a public risk to be out on bail. He also said that with Brant’s history, he is likely to reoffend.

“In my opinion, there is not only a serious and real risk (of reoffending), but also a risk that the public will be endangered or injured by subsequent offences by Mr. Brant,” he said.

Brant has lead a group of Mohawks who have occupied a Deseronto-area quarry since March 22, protesting the quarry’s operation on land subject to land-claim negotiations. On April 20, the group blocked the main CN rail line. Brant, already out on bail for an accidental clash with military vehicles while protesting, was arrested, charged with mischief and breach of recognizance and released on bail again in May.

He was still out on bail June 29 when he participated in the national aboriginal day of action, leading protests that led to the blockage of the CN rail line and County Road 2 and a police shutdown of Highway 401.
That led to another arrest and another set of charges of mischief and breach of recognizance. He was denied bail by Justice D.K. Kirkland July 5.

At Friday’s review, Brant’s lawyer Peter Rosenthal argued that Kirkland had made errors in principle when rendering his judgment. He also argued that unlike in May, the day of action has been achieved and the political climate has changed. He offered two sureties of $50,000 each – Brant’s mother Deanna and family friend Winston Brant.

Rosenthal and lawyer Howard Morton presented a folder of new information, including an Angus Reid poll showing 35 per cent of Canadians recognized the legitimacy of the day of action events.

Brant might participate in future protests, Rosenthal said, but he would not participate in any between now and the end of his trial. Brant also hopes to return to cabinet making and post-secondary studies learning the Mohawk language, Rosenthal said.

“We’re in a different situation (from May) because Mr. Brant has made real commitments,” he said.

But Crown attorney Brad Kelneck said the best indicator of future behaviour is looking at the past.

“He was not straight about it time one, he was not straight about it time two, but he’s going to be straight about it now?” he said.

Outside, Brant supporters milled about the courthouse grounds, waving flags, playing drums and singing songs in the Mohawk language. Police presence was heavy. In addition to metal detectors, officers refused admittance to anyone who did not show identification and write down his or her name, birth date and address. Five armed officers lined the courtroom exit door when Power read his decision.

But Power was undeterred, citing part of Brant’s affidavit where he said he he was willing to sit back and let First Nations and the federal government negotiate.

“It’s not for Mr. Brant to stand before the court and say what he’s prepared to let the Canadian government do,” he said.

“I am concerned that there seems to be very much the attitude on the part of Mr. Brant that he appears to be willing to advance the interests of himself and his supporters and say to hell with the interests of the other citizens of this country.”

Rosenthal said afterward that he plans to appeal.

Dustin Brant, the new spokesman for the quarry protesters, said the group is feeling “frustration and anger and sadness.

“It’s time to start dealing with these issues (facing First Nations),” said Brant. “It’s time to do what’s right.”

But when reporters asked for reasons why Shawn Brant should be released, the younger spokesman appeared to be looking for answers from his fellow activists.

“I don’t know,” he said, laughing nervously.

A reporter’s question about what would happen if Brant wasn’t released was met with a laugh from an unnamed protester seen often at Shawn Brant’s side during the June 29 action and its aftermath.

“You’ll see,” the unnamed protester said.

Several dozen protesters from the Kingston Mohawk Support Network (KMSN) and the Kingston Coalition Against Poverty were joined outside the courthouse by about 40 more from the Toronto-based Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and PARC, a Toronto drop-in centre.

“It’s a good sign that there are so many Canadians out in support of indigenous people,” said the KMSN’s Richard Day, who teaches sociology at Queen’s University.

Also in the crowd was Bryan Isaacs, owner and publisher of the Tyendinaga-based Mohawk Nation Drummer newspaper.

He said some Mohawks on the reserve have faced a racist backlash since the recent high-profile protests, yet few Canadians understand the problems facing First Nations, such as suicide and contaminated water on reserves.

Isaacs said aboriginals are “second-class citizens” who want land claims settled and original treaties honoured – not financial compensation.

“We want everybody to understand we want the land, not the money,” said Isaacs.

He, too, called for the swift resolution of land claims.

“When you do it with good faith, something happens. When you do it with bad faith, nothing happens.”

Native Cops at Algonquin Land Re-Occupation

Posted in Algonquin Nation, Repression on August 5, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Native Cops at Algonquin Land Re-Occupation

by Wii’nimkiikaa, August 2007

“Indian Police physically enforce the will and laws of the oppressors on their own people with billy clubs, mace and guns. Indian Police are people destroyed as Indians, casualties of the psychological warfare waged on the Indian people. Indian Police are used by dominant society to harass the Indian people, especially those fighting for national and racial survival. Many Indian leaders were murdered by Indian Police, notably Sitting Bull and others.”
– Karoniaktajeh (Louis Hall), Mohawk Nation, The Warriors Hand Book

“Are Indigenous people being deceptively taken over by the police?”
– Mohawk Nation News (MNN), July 30, 2007

In a recent Globe and Mail article, the president of Frontenac Ventures, George White “pointed out that one of the Algonquin leaders, Ardoch Lake co-chief Randy Cota, is an OPP [Ontario Provincial Police] constable at the local detachment.” But according to the Globe and Mail, “Mr. Cota and the OPP both insist that Mr. Cota’s work as co-chief is separate from his police work and is done in his private time.”

So the same police force that killed Anishinabe warrior Dudley George at Ipperwash (Aazhoodena) and attacked Six Nations people at Caledonia is now supposedly on the side of Native sovereignty? Not possible. Conflict of interest.

More information on OPP involvement in the ongoing Alqonquin actions against uranium mining in Ontario can be found in a recent Mohawk Nation News article linked to below.

THELMA, LOUISE AND DOLLY VISIT SHARBOT LAKE ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, Mohawk Nation News (July 30, 2007)

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Aazhoodena (Ipperwash) re-occupied in defiance of the OPP, 1995

Prison Justice Day 2007

Posted in Repression on August 1, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Prison Justice Day 2007: Vancouver (Coast Salish Territory)

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Prison Justice Day 2007: Victoria (Coast Salish Territory)

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Shawn Brant’s Bail Review on Prisoner Justice Day

Message from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

(Tyendinaga MT): On Friday August 10th, lawyers Peter Rosenthal & Howard Morton will be arguing a bail review for Mohawk activist Shawn Brant. Shawn was denied bail on July 5th on charges from the June 29th Aboriginal Day of Action relating to the closure of the CN main line, a provincial highway and the 401.

August 10th is also Prisoner Justice Day. The roots of Prisoner Justice Day date back to August 10th, 1975, when inmates at Millhaven Institution refused to eat or work in memory of another inmate who had died in segregation the year before. Since then it has spread nationally and internationally as a day to acknowledge those who have died inside prison walls and those who have fought for the very few basic human rights that prisoners currently have.

On August 10th, we ask people to join us at Shawn’s bail review in Napanee, Ontario to support his bid for release and to acknowledge the ongoing struggles of our sisters and brothers in institutions across the country.

BAIL REVIEW
Friday, August 10th, 2007
Superior Court of Justice Courthouse
97 Thomas Street East, Napanee
2nd Floor Courtroom

Driving Directions from Toronto:

1. Drive HWY-401 east past Belleville, and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory (approx 2 hours from Toronto).
2. Exit 579 towards NAPANEE.
3. Turn LEFT onto PROVINCIAL ROUTE 41 / CENTRE ST N.
4. Turn LEFT onto THOMAS ST E.
5. Superior Court is at 97 Thomas Street East.

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PrisonJustice.ca